|The residents living near the construction site are hanging the banners to oppose the Youth Housing Plan.|
|/Photography from SkyeDaily|
Recently, many neologisms referring to young people suffering due to the low employment rate and lack of money are appearing such as “youth refugee,” “cube earner,” and “the slug.” According to data released by Seoul Metropolitan Government, the 2030 generation will experience 42.76 percent of unemployment rate and increase in the dwelling poverty rate of young single-person households in Seoul. In an attempt to tackle the situation, the Seoul Metropolitan Government launched a new project called “Railway Station Sphere 2030 Youth Housing” in order to supply stable housing to young people but there are some critical points that should be improved.
“Railway Station Sphere 2030 Youth Housing” of Seoul city
“Railway Station Sphere 2030 Youth Housing” is a plan to offer houses, which are well located with an easy accessibility for young people including university students, people who are new to the society, and newlyweds. It is also a public-private cooperative plan on account of securing dwellings by relaxing regulation in developing the area for construction companies. As a part of the youth housing plan, the Hangangno 2-ga area near Samgakji station is having construction ahead as the first area to carry forward the plan. The construction is going to begin in March or April, and its completion and the resident recruitment will take place about two years later.
There are five measures of support for the youth housing plan which were presented to cut off high rental fees. First, security deposit rates should be over at least 30 percent so that tenants can reduce burden by lowering monthly rental fee. Second, the plan introduces the concept of a shared housing in which two to three people can live together. Third, in the case of the affluent districts of Seoul, small sized houses are offered to make rental fees affordable to youths. Fourth, for people with low income, security deposit interest-fee loans will be provided up to 45 million won. Lastly, there will be various community facilities such as library, fitness center, foundation support center, and others.
Positive effects expected from the youth housing plan
Regarding the youth housing plan, the Seoul Metropolitan Government expects to provide youths with stable residential areas. An official of the special task force of the Railway Station Sphere 2030 Youth Housing plan said, “We have regulated the starting price and its increasing rate so that the young can obtain houses with cheaper rental fee thanks to the youth housing plan.” The official additionally stated, “By developing the railway station sphere lagging behind, the floating population nearby will increase and, in accordance, the business district will revive so that the local economy can be vitalized.”
In fact, some university students also showed a positive reaction to the youth housing plan. Hwang Su-a (sophomore, Business Administration) commented, “When I applied for the similar project of LH public cooperation, I had trouble because of the lack of dealings. However, in the case of the youth housing project, I think such problems can be overcome. Also, the high deposit is reasonable since it is the money we get back.”
High rate of private rental housing, possibility of the increase of rental fee
However, there are several critical points regarding the youth housing plan, and one of them is that the rate of public rental housing is considerably lower than that of private rental housing. According to the official announcement of the plan, public rental housing takes 19 percent among the whole households while private housing takes almost 80 percent. Unlike public rental housing, private rental housing only limits on initial price and is open to an increase in the monthly rental fee. Considering the issue, the Seoul Metropolitan Government spoke its stance that the rental fee increase should be under five percent per year especially in the case of private housing.
Regarding this policy, Cho Ji-young, the professor of the Department of Housing & Interior Design at Kyung Hee University, said, “Since there are restrictions on regulating rental fee and its increasing rate, I think building a structural reorganization is essential by supporting merits in another area so that private enterprises do not make a loss because of the lower income from rental fee.” She added, “I also regard it as a possible suggestion to a new form of rental house with connections among public, private, schools, and students not only furnishing facilities in the building.”
Still burdensome housing costs for many university students
Another concern of the youth housing plan is that allotted costs for rental houses are still burdensome for many university students. According to the survey of “Daehaknaeil 20s lab,” a research agency mainly targeting those in their 20s, the price level that occupies the biggest portion of students pay for their deposit is from ten million won to 20 million won, reaching 23 percent of the results. However, in the case of Hangangno 2-ga area, deposit is set at 39.5 million won for single person-households, 37.5 million for two people shares, and 28.4 million won for three people shares, which are more expensive than the level students can cope with.
Choi Ji-su (sophomore, Depeartment of International Trade) commented, “I feel like the deposit is especially expensive because I am now covering about ten million won for it. In addition, in my opinion, the deposit supporting system is hollow in that people who are not the low-income bracket should accumulate a large sum of money around 50 million won by themselves.”
Professor Cho commented, “The market cost of the railway station sphere is more expensive than other areas. Instead, it seems to be possible to form dwelling zones in the area which is near other infrastructures such as start-up education centers and art centers and has a better environment at a cheaper price.”
The “Railway Station Sphere 2030 Youth Housing” plan is a necessary policy for youths who are living in poor surroundings in that the plan has a chance to offer them a stable residential environment. However, since financial regulation on rental fees has limitations as a long-term strategy under the market economy system, the youth housing plan should not only improve financial supports but also prepare another form of support system with the cooperation of interested parties.
Kim Min-ji firstname.lastname@example.org
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