In June 2023, Hwasun-gun, Jeollanam-do attracted attention with its unconventional local extinction response policy of ‘apartments with monthly rent of 10,000 won’. In order to attract the youth population to Hwasun, the military decided to recruit young people and newlyweds as tenants and pay the deposit (KRW 48 million) for the 20 pyeong (actual residential area 49 m2) ‘Hwasun Booyoung Rental Apartment’ on their behalf. Residents only need to pay a deposit of 880,000 won and 120,000 won in monthly rent for one year, so they can live in this apartment (2-year contract period, up to 6 years if extended) with just 1 million won.
<The Hankyoreh 21> met and interviewed Ahn Woo-jin (26), who won the lottery over a competition rate of 10 to 1 at the time. He, who had lived in Gwangju Metropolitan City, won this apartment and decided to move to Hwasun County, where he had never lived before. Although my workplace is in Gwangju, I applied because I could commute to work in 30 minutes by car. Since the interview was conducted before moving into the apartment, I contacted him again after he had been living in Hwasun County for three months to ask ‘what life was like.’
—What was it like once you moved in? Isn’t it inconvenient because Hwasun-gun doesn’t have infrastructure compared to Gwangju?
“It’s okay to live. I don’t feel particularly uncomfortable. All necessary facilities (mart, cafe, etc.) are nearby. On weekdays, I go to work early in the morning and when I get home from work, it’s evening, so it’s almost no different from before. “You can go anywhere by car on the weekends.”
—In a previous interview, when asked if he intended to continue living even if he got married, he answered that it would be tight if he had children. What is it like living there?
—Are there any additional housing costs other than the 10,000 won monthly rent?
“Right now, I don’t use much electricity, water, and gas, so the apartment maintenance fee is 70,000 won, and all the bills combined come to about 100,000 won.”
—As Hwasun-gun is attracting attention, other local governments are also coming up with many imitated policies. What do you think would be good to pay attention to?
“I think it would be a good idea to keep it as it is because it is such a good policy. However, if the (support) income criteria are further relaxed, there will be more inflow, but since it is a welfare policy (from the local government’s perspective), it seems impossible to just relax income. Also, Naju and other countries introduced similar policies, but there was a constraint that jobs had to be obtained from Naju. However, in reality, there may not be a job and there are limits to the job, so it may not be good for young people.”
—What was the reaction of your friends and others after the article came out?
“Everyone was positive (about the policy). “I have a friend who saw me and applied for the second round of tenant recruitment.”
—As a young person living and working in a rural area, what measures do you think are needed to prevent local extinction?
“Wouldn’t it be nice if the salary went up a bit? It’s not that there are no jobs in local areas, but most of them are small and medium-sized companies with annual salaries of less than 30 million won. In the metropolitan area, small and medium-sized companies offer annual salaries of 40 million won, so young people move to the metropolitan area where companies with high salaries are located카지노사이트. But actually, if you live in the metropolitan area, you have too many fixed expenses, so it seems like a vicious cycle.”
—While living in the neighborhood, are there any recent policies that you find disappointing?
“Until September, local currency cards could be used at most nearby facilities, but from October 1, use will be discontinued at affiliated stores with annual sales of more than 3 billion won. I used local currency to pay for food and alcohol, but most gas stations do not accept it. It became uncomfortable. “If you spend 500,000 won a month on food and gas, you could save 10%, or 50,000 won, but it has become difficult to use it even at grocery stores.”
The second round of recruitment for Hwasun ‘10,000 won rental apartments’ took place in August 2023. As the first round of recruitment attracted attention, more applicants flocked. 882 young people and 47 newlyweds applied for the second round of recruitment, which recruited 26 young people and newlyweds each, and the young people’s competition rate was 34 to 1. In particular, during the first round of recruitment, young people from Jeollanam-do mainly applied, but during the second round of recruitment, many young people from other regions such as Seoul and Gyeonggi also applied, showing the possibility of population influx as a ‘regional extinction response policy’.
“There would be no problem in settling in Hwasun itself, but it would be inconvenient due to the size of the apartment. “It’s okay to live there if both spouses agree, but the actual living area is 15 pyeong, so it will be difficult if you have children.”