Apartments are the most popular housing option among Koreans. As urban development and cost of living have skyrocketed over the years, most Koreans have taken up apartments as their residential option of choice. Apartments are also preferred by most residents of Korea due to convenience. Nearly all complexes have facilities nearby such as a supermarket, district office, post office, schools and easy access to public transportation. Basic utilities such as water, gas and heating are well-established. Drawbacks to living in apartments include lack of privacy and distracting levels of noise.
Price Range (Prices vary depending on location and the quality of the apartment complex.) The official unit of area for housing or office spaces in Korea is the squaremeter. But customarily, the unit ‘pyeong’ is still used as well. One ‘pyeong’ is equivalent to approximately 3.3 square meters. An average small-sized apartment is approximately 81 squaremeters and the purchasing price ranges from
US$165,500~250,000. Depending on locations some apartments of the same size (81 m2) can cost US$ 350,000~500,000. Mid-sized apartments measuring 119m2 average US$ 900,000 ~ 1.1 million Large-sized apartmentsmeasuring 168m2 will set you back US$1.3 ~ 1.6million. When choosing to live in an apartment complex you must consider some inconvenient factors.First of all, the units are somewhat smaller than what one might be accustomed to abroad. Since the units are tightly-packed into each complex, lack of privacy is a concern. Looking for a parking space after work can be daunting as most complexes do not designate parking spots to each unit.
Single Private house
As a stand-alone structure on its own lot, these houses are usually two stories high and include a garden or a yard. Residential houses are becoming harder to find in urban settings in Korea. These houses are easier to locate in old Seoul, north of the river. Private houses for foreigners can be commonly seen in Itaewon, Ichon-dong and Pyeongchang-dong.
Studio/ One room
Studio apartments in buildings four to five stories high are often referred to as “one room” or villa. Much like officetels, these affordable rooms are popular with students and young working-class Seoulites. Before deciding on a studio or a one room as the residence of your choice, remember to look out for a few things. An average unit measures 27 m2 and contains basic furnishings. It is important to note that since these buildings are privately owned and in close proximity to other residential and business buildings, lack of sunlight and poor ventilation is a drawback. One room units are a cost-saving alternative to officetels.
Serviced residences are furnished apartment buildings with hotel-like service for both short and long-term visitors in Seoul. They have all the necessities of a modern apartment including an indoor swimming pool, exercise room and amenities within each unit. These units are usually two to three times bigger than your average hotel room and usually includes kitchens. Furthermore, hotel-like services are at your disposal including room service, limousine service and valet parking among others. Visitors may prefer a serviced residence as opposed to hotels because of its affordability. For thosewho do not want to trouble themselves with unfamiliar rental systems in Korea, serviced residences and themonthly rates they
offermay be the housing option of your choice. These residences are also convenient since they are near public transportation systems and in close proximity to numerous tourist attractions.
Officetels are high rise buildings with both residential and office units available and are quite popular with single working-class Seoulites and students. The preferred short-term housing solution of most, contracts range from a year to two years. Officetels were introduced with the purpose of providing the ultimate convenience by providing office space within a residential building for the working class. If you don’t plan on staying in Korea on a long-term basis, officetels are convenient since they come fully furnished. Officetel tenants are responsible for the monthly maintenance fee and additional utilities fee.
Hanok or traditional Korean homes can be seen in the old part of Seoul or more specifically north of the Han River. Bukchon Hanok Village is one area with well preserved traditional homes. Traditional Korean homes were constructed in relation to the surroundings. Proper positioning of the house in relation to its surroundings was considered very important. The interior of the house was planned just as carefully. The ondol or heated floors kept the house warm during the frigid cold winter months while the wide front porch kept it cool during the scorching hot summer months. It is interesting to note many remodeled traditional homes are appearing in the city. These remodeled homes have various modern amenities to go along with the beauty of traditional architecture.