South Koreans suffer under soaring property prices

Lim Ji-min's family made a home out of their apartment in Seoul over the past two years.

They've settled in -- with toys and books for their two children sprawled all over the place.

But soon they'll be forced to leave.

They're struggling under the same pressure many face in this massive Asian metropolis.

Like many middle-class South Koreans, Lim's family is cracking under a painful leap in property prices.

"I trusted and waited for the Moon Jae-in government, but the price of housing has more than doubled and I can't even afford the rent. So, I am getting kicked out of the house and moving out to Gyeonggi Province, on the outskirts of Seoul. I have no hope of buying a home in Seoul in the future."

When South Korea's President Moon Jae-In was elected in 2017, he promised to create a society where hardworking people could afford to raise a family and buy their own home.

His government introduced 20 different measures to tamp down property prices, but they've still risen an eye-watering 50 percent in the three years since Moon took office -- faster than anywhere else in the world.

35-year-old Baek Seung-min is one of many whose dreams have been crushed in the past few years.

In an unusual plan, Baek's wife actually quit her job -- making their income low enough for a quota system under Moon.

It was meant to give more low-income newlyweds access to housing.

On top of that -- to get a better loan, the couple also had to move to Incheon, two hours away from Seoul.

"There was no other way for us to get a house. There was no other way. It was either lowering our income to meet income eligibility criteria or just sitting and watching runaway home prices."

For decades following the Korean War, South Koreans saw a degree from a top university and a Seoul apartment as their ticket to the middle class.

But now - even those who studied hard and secured white-collar jobs as lawyers and designers say Moon's policies make it impossible to buy property in Seoul even with a six-figure salary.

Some couples are even getting divorced on paper to reduce real estate taxes.

Real estate consultant Park Hab-soo says the issue with the government policies -- is that they aren't getting to the crux of the problem.

"The current real estate policy was a policy which only focuses on restraining the housing demand, but there have been various problems arising from supply shortage. In the long term, some housing prices are expected to stabilise if we keep supply and demand in balance."

Moon's approval rating has now dropped to a near nine-month low, and it remains to be seen whether his government will be able to fix Seoul's housing bubble.

On Tuesday, the South Korean Finance Minister said the government plans to add more than 132,000 new homes in Seoul -- through the year 2028.