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Can foreigner buy apartment in Korea?

Can Foreigner Buy Apartment in Korea?

South Korea is a popular destination for expatriates and foreigners who are looking for job opportunities or to settle down. One of the most asked questions by foreigners is whether they can buy an apartment in Korea. In this comprehensive article, we will discuss the legalities and procedures involved in buying an apartment in Korea as a foreigner.

Foreign Ownership Laws in Korea

According to the Foreigner’s Land Acquisition Act, foreign nationals can buy apartments in Korea. However, there are restrictions on the types of properties that foreigners can buy. Foreigners are not allowed to purchase land or buildings designated for agricultural or military purposes. They are also not allowed to own more than 50% of the units in a building.

Procedure for Buying an Apartment in Korea

The process of buying an apartment in Korea is similar to that of a Korean citizen. A foreigner needs to find a real estate agent or a lawyer who can guide them through the process. The first step is to find a suitable property and negotiate with the seller on the price and other terms of the transaction.

Deposit and Contract Signing

Once both parties agree on the terms, the buyer needs to pay a deposit which is usually 10% of the purchase price. The deposit is held by a third-party escrow agent until the transaction is completed. After paying the deposit, a sales contract is signed between the buyer and seller, which outlines all the details of the transaction.

Registration of Ownership

The next step is to register the ownership of the property with the local government office. The buyer needs to provide proof of their identity, visa status, and bank statements showing that they have enough funds to purchase the property. The registration process takes about two weeks to complete.

Mortgage for Foreigners

Foreigners can obtain a mortgage in Korea, but the requirements are more stringent than for Korean citizens. The buyer needs to have a Korean guarantor, provide proof of income and employment, and have a good credit score. The maximum loan amount is usually 50-70% of the purchase price, and the interest rates are higher than for Korean citizens.

Taxes and Fees

When buying an apartment in Korea, foreigners need to pay various taxes and fees. These include a registration tax, acquisition tax, real estate agent commission, and legal fees. The total cost can range from 5-8% of the purchase price.

Residency Status

Buying an apartment in Korea does not automatically give a foreigner residency status. Foreigners need to apply for either a short-term or long-term visa to stay in Korea. Owning property in Korea can help with the visa application process, but it is not a guarantee.

Property Management

If the buyer intends to rent out the property, they need to find a property management company that can handle tenant screening, rent collection, and property maintenance. The management fees range from 5-10% of the monthly rent.

Real Estate Market in Korea

The real estate market in Korea has been booming in recent years, with prices increasing significantly. However, it is important to do thorough research on the location and condition of the property before making a purchase. It is also advisable to consult with an experienced real estate agent or lawyer.

Benefits of Buying an Apartment in Korea

There are several benefits to owning an apartment in Korea as a foreigner. It provides a stable and secure investment opportunity, as property prices are expected to continue to rise. It also offers a chance to be a part of the Korean community and experience the culture and lifestyle.

Pitfalls to Avoid

Foreigners need to be aware of certain pitfalls when buying an apartment in Korea. These include unscrupulous real estate agents, hidden fees, and fraudulent sellers. It is crucial to do thorough research and work with reputable professionals to avoid these pitfalls.


In conclusion, foreigners can buy apartments in Korea, but there are restrictions and procedures involved. It is important to do thorough research, work with experienced professionals, and be aware of the costs and risks involved. Owning property in Korea can provide many benefits and be a worthwhile investment opportunity for foreigners.

How much does it cost to own an apartment in Korea?

As of September 2022, the cost for buying apartments larger than 135 square meters in South Korea was approximately six million South Korean won per square meter. The average price for all apartments in South Korea was around 3.3 million South Korean won per square meter as of December 2022.

Can non residents buy property in South Korea?

Non-Koreans can obtain land in Korea through a reporting process, except for land that requires prior permission. The Land Registration Divisions of the Si/Gun/Gu offices can provide information on whether the land requires reporting or permission.

Can you buy an apartment instead of renting in Korea?

In Korea, there is a unique option called jeonse which is neither renting nor ownership. It is an intermediary scheme that falls between monthly rent (wolse) and full ownership (jaga). This option is popular among many people in Korea.

Can I live in South Korea as a foreigner?

Preparing before your arrival is key to an easy move to South Korea, despite the country historically being wary of foreign migration. However, with the increasing number of international companies coming into Korea, the sentiment towards foreigners has shifted and it is now a welcoming destination.

How long can a US citizen stay in South Korea?

A U.S citizen can use a K-ETA to visit Korea for tourism or visiting purposes, and they are allowed to stay for 90 days with a valid passport.

Can a US citizen own property in South Korea?

Non-Korean citizens are allowed to buy property in South Korea. However, foreign residents who want to purchase real estate must comply with the regulations outlined in the Foreigner’s Land Acquisition Act and the Registration of Real Estate Act.

Location and Amenities

When considering buying an apartment in Korea, it is important to take into account the location and amenities. Apartments located in popular neighborhoods or near transportation hubs tend to be more expensive but may provide better investment opportunities. Additionally, features such as parking, security, and access to amenities such as gyms or pools can also impact the price of the property.

Resale Value

Another factor to consider when buying an apartment in Korea is the resale value. While property prices have been rising in recent years, there is no guarantee that they will continue to do so. It is important to consider the potential for resale if the buyer intends to sell the property in the future.

Cultural Differences

Foreigners buying property in Korea may encounter cultural differences and language barriers when dealing with real estate agents, lawyers, and government officials. It is important to be aware of these differences and seek assistance from professionals who are familiar with both Korean culture and the real estate market.

Tenant Laws and Regulations

If the buyer intends to rent out the property, they need to be familiar with tenant laws and regulations in Korea. These laws can be complex and vary depending on the city or province. It is advisable to consult with a lawyer or property management company that has experience dealing with these laws.


Buying an apartment in Korea as a foreigner can be a complex process with various legalities, procedures, and costs involved. However, with thorough research, careful consideration of location and amenities, and assistance from experienced professionals, it can be a worthwhile investment opportunity that provides many benefits. It is important to be aware of potential pitfalls and cultural differences but owning property in Korea can be a rewarding experience for foreigners.

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