South Korean builders suffered from worsened business conditions last year as the stagnant domestic construction market showed no signs of recovery, a report said Wednesday.
According to the annual report by the Construction Association of Korea (CAK), growth of sales of South Korean builders fell to 3.6 percent last year from the previous year's 7.7 percent, with their tangible assets growing a mere 3.6 percent, compared with a 14 percent surge a year earlier.
Sales growth had been on the steady rise since 2005, peaking at 19.6 percent in 2008 from 5.4 percent in 2005, but plummeted to 7.7 percent in 2009, said the CAK report.
The report said that 5,085 construction firms, some 48 percent of the registered builders, saw a decrease in sales last year.
Their ratio of operating profit to net sales came to 5 percent last year, compared with that of the manufacturing industry of 6.89 percent, said CAK. It said that 2,469 builders, or 23.4 percent, posted operating losses in 2010.
Meanwhile, their debt ratio improved to 145.6 percent last year from 169.1 percent a year earlier as troubling builders reduced the scale of their projects and downsized their businesses, the CAK report said.
South Korea's domestic property market has been in the doldrums since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis. Industry data showed that the size of the construction market sank to a six-year low of 144.5 trillion won (US$130.7 billion) last year.