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Is housing cheap in South Korea?


South Korea is a country that has undergone rapid economic development over the past few decades. With this development comes an increase in the cost of living, including housing. In this article, we will explore whether or not housing is cheap in South Korea.

History of Housing Prices in South Korea

The cost of housing in South Korea has fluctuated throughout its history. In the 1980s, housing prices skyrocketed due to a lack of supply and high demand. In the early 2000s, the government implemented policies to increase supply and regulate prices, resulting in a decrease in housing prices. However, since 2010, housing prices have been on the rise again due to an increase in demand and a shortage of affordable housing.

Factors Affecting Housing Prices

Several factors can affect housing prices in South Korea. The first is location, as properties located in popular areas such as Seoul or Busan tend to be more expensive. Another important factor is size, with larger properties commanding higher prices. Additionally, the age and condition of the property can also impact its price.

Types of Housing in South Korea

There are several types of housing available in South Korea, including apartments, villas, and single-family homes. Apartments tend to be the most popular type of housing due to their affordability and convenience.

Affordable Housing Programs

The South Korean government has implemented several programs to promote affordable housing for low-income families. These programs include rental subsidies and loans for first-time homebuyers.

Rental Prices vs. Homeownership Costs

While rental prices in South Korea can be relatively affordable compared to other countries, homeownership costs can be much higher due to high down payment requirements and maintenance fees.

Housing Market Trends

The housing market in South Korea has been on an upward trend since 2010, with prices increasing steadily. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a temporary downturn in the market.

Impact of Foreign Buyers

Foreign buyers, especially those from China, have been investing in South Korean real estate in recent years. This has caused concern among locals who fear rising housing prices and gentrification.

Future Outlook

Experts predict that housing prices in South Korea will continue to rise in the near future, but may stabilize over time as the government implements new policies to regulate the market.

Comparison to Other Countries

Compared to other developed countries such as the United States and Japan, housing prices in South Korea are relatively affordable. However, they are higher than some other Asian countries such as Thailand or Malaysia.


In conclusion, while housing prices in South Korea have increased over the past decade, they are still relatively affordable compared to other developed countries. However, affordability can vary depending on location and size of the property. The government has implemented programs to promote affordable housing, but more work needs to be done to ensure access to housing for all income levels.

How much does a house in South Korea cost?

As of January 2023, the average cost of purchasing a home in Seoul, South Korea was roughly 912 million South Korean won. The average cost of buying an apartment was roughly 1.27 billion South Korean won, while detached and row houses cost roughly 962.7 million and 347 million South Korean won, respectively.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in South Korea?

A family of four in Seoul, South Korea can expect to spend around $4,037.6 per month on expenses excluding rent, while a single person is estimated to spend $1,116.8 per month for the same expenses excluding rent.

Is it expensive to live in South Korea?

South Korea is undeniably a costly nation, with its capital city, Seoul, often being among the most expensive places to reside. In 2022, Seoul was ranked 14th out of 227 cities in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey.

Is $100 dollars a lot in South Korea?

In my experience, spending US$100 per day is sufficient. However, when visiting Itaewon in Seoul, it may be more expensive than other areas and it is advisable to negotiate prices.

How long can a US citizen stay in South Korea?

From April 1, 2023, until December 31, 2024, US citizens traveling to Korea for tourism or business purposes for 90 days or less do not need a Korean Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA). However, a visa is required for other purposes such as employment, teaching English, and stays longer than 90 days.

Is it hard to live in Korea as a foreigner?

Overall, relocating to South Korea can be a smooth process if you plan ahead. While the country used to be hesitant towards foreign migration, things have changed in recent years as South Korea has become more open to international companies entering the country.

Another factor affecting housing prices in South Korea is the country’s demographics. With an aging population and a low birth rate, there is a higher demand for smaller properties suited for senior citizens. This has caused a shift in the market towards smaller apartments and villas.

Furthermore, the culture of owning property in South Korea is deeply ingrained, with many viewing it as a symbol of success and stability. This has contributed to the high demand for housing and the subsequent rise in prices.

In recent years, there has also been a growing trend of co-living spaces, where individuals share living spaces and amenities such as kitchens and lounges. These spaces offer more affordable options for young professionals and students.

Overall, while housing prices in South Korea may not be considered cheap by some standards, they are still relatively affordable compared to other developed countries. However, the government must continue to implement policies to regulate the market and promote access to affordable housing for all income levels.

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