SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's household credit rose in the fourth quarter to a new high as temporary tax benefits for housing transactions boosted demand for mortgage loans.
Household credit outstanding was a fresh record 959.4 trillion won (884.73 billion U.S. dollars) as of the end of 2012, up 23.6 trillion won from three months before, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said in a statement on Thursday.
The increase came as demand for home-backed loans was fueled by a temporary cut in the home transaction tax. Mortgage loans increased by 19.9 trillion won in the three months ending Dec. 31, while purchases on credit such as credit card spending and installment payment purchases rose 3.8 trillion won. Household credit includes loans from banks and non-bank depository institutions as well as purchase on credit.
From a year before, the household credit gained 5.2 percent in the fourth quarter. The on-year growth continued to slow after peaking at 8.7 percent in the second quarter of 2011.
Household loans extended by banks increased 7.9 trillion won in the three-month period to 467.3 trillion won as of end-2012. Debts owed to non-bank institutions, including savings banks, credit unions and community credit cooperatives, advanced 3.4 trillion won to 192.6 trillion won. Loans from other financial institutions such as insurers, pension funds and credit card companies, rose 8. 5 trillion won to 240.7 trillion won.