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Is housing expensive in Seoul?


Seoul is the capital city of South Korea and it is one of the most populous cities in the world. The city has grown rapidly over the past few decades, becoming a major economic and cultural hub in Asia. With this growth, housing prices in Seoul have also risen, making it difficult for many people to afford living there. In this article, we will explore whether housing is expensive in Seoul and what factors contribute to this.

Population Growth and Housing Demand

Seoul’s population has been increasing steadily over the years, and with it, the demand for housing has also increased. The city has limited space for new development, which has resulted in higher prices for existing properties. As more people move into the city, the demand for housing continues to grow, leading to higher prices.

Real Estate Market in Seoul

The real estate market in Seoul is highly competitive and complex. The market is dominated by large corporations and wealthy individuals who invest heavily in properties. This has created a situation where smaller investors and regular people find it challenging to enter the market. The competition among buyers has driven up the prices of houses in Seoul.

Government Policies on Housing

The South Korean government has implemented several policies aimed at controlling housing prices in Seoul. One such policy is the “Five Million Housing Project,” which aims to build five million affordable homes by 2020. However, these policies have not been enough to meet the growing demand for housing in Seoul.

Location Matters

As with any city, the location of a property greatly affects its price in Seoul. Properties located near downtown areas or near popular tourist attractions are typically more expensive than those located further away from these areas. Additionally, properties located near public transportation are also more expensive than those located further from these amenities.

Condo vs. Apartment

Condos are a popular housing option in Seoul, especially among expats and wealthy individuals. Condos are typically more expensive than apartments due to their amenities, such as gyms, swimming pools, and security systems. However, apartments are more affordable and are the most popular type of housing in Seoul.

Size of Housing Units

The size of a housing unit is also a significant factor in determining its price in Seoul. Smaller units are typically more affordable than larger units. However, larger units can be more expensive due to their location, amenities, and luxurious features.

Foreign Investment in Housing

Foreign investment has played a significant role in driving up housing prices in Seoul. Many wealthy individuals from China and other countries have invested heavily in properties in the city, driving up prices for locals. This has created a situation where many Koreans find it difficult to afford housing in their own city.

Buying vs. Renting

Buying a property in Seoul is expensive, which has led many people to opt for renting instead. However, renting a property in Seoul can also be costly, especially if you want to live in a desirable area. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons of buying versus renting before making a decision.

Housing Affordability Index

The Housing Affordability Index is a measure of how affordable housing is in a specific area. According to the index, Seoul ranks low on housing affordability compared to other cities around the world. This means that many people living in Seoul spend a significant portion of their income on housing.

Alternative Housing Options

As housing prices continue to rise in Seoul, many people are looking for alternative housing options. Some popular options include officetels (a combination of office and hotel), share houses (where multiple individuals share a house), and goshiwons (tiny, single-room apartments). These options are generally more affordable than traditional housing options.


In conclusion, housing in Seoul is expensive due to several factors, including population growth, limited space for new development, and foreign investment. While the government has implemented policies aimed at controlling housing prices, they have not been enough to meet the growing demand for housing in the city. As such, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of different housing options before making a decision.

Is housing expensive in South Korea?

In larger cities like Seoul or Busan, you can anticipate paying approximately 40-80 USD per night for accommodations. For more high-end, fully furnished monthly rentals, expect to pay between 120-200 USD per night.

How much does it cost to live comfortably in Seoul?

This is a summary of the cost of living in Seoul, South Korea. A family of four can expect monthly expenses of around $4,059.9 (5,304,153.9₩) not including rent, while a single person’s monthly expenses are estimated to be around $1,123.0 (1,467,143.3₩) without rent. Compared to New York, living in Seoul is about 22.4% cheaper without rent.

What salary do you need to live in Seoul?

On a country-wide scale, a household consisting of four members is likely to spend around 2,300,000 KRW per month (equal to 2,000 USD) on daily needs, exclusive of rent. An expat individual, on the other hand, can expect to pay roughly 652,000 KRW (or 560 USD) per month (exclusive of rent).

How long can a US citizen stay in South Korea?

A citizen of the United States who holds a valid passport can use the K-ETA to visit South Korea for up to 90 days for the purpose of tourism or visiting.

Can foreigners buy house in Seoul?

Non-Korean citizens are allowed to buy property in South Korea, but they are subject to the regulations outlined in the Foreigner’s Land Acquisition Act and the Registration of Real Estate Act. Foreign residents must comply with these laws if they wish to purchase real estate.

Is $100 dollars a lot in South Korea?

From my personal experience in Itaewon, I found that it is pricier than other areas of Seoul, so you need to haggle. However, you can still make do with a budget of US$100 per day.

Impact on Society

The high cost of housing in Seoul has had a significant impact on society. Many people, especially young adults, are delaying marriage and starting families due to the high cost of living in the city. This has led to a decline in the birth rate, which is a significant concern for the South Korean government. Additionally, the high cost of housing has led to income inequality, with low-income individuals struggling to afford basic necessities.

Future Outlook

The future outlook for housing in Seoul is uncertain. The demand for housing is expected to continue to increase due to population growth and urbanization. However, the government is implementing new policies aimed at increasing the supply of affordable housing in the city. It remains to be seen whether these policies will be successful in controlling housing prices and improving affordability for locals.

Advice for Prospective Homebuyers

For prospective homebuyers in Seoul, it is essential to do your research and carefully consider your options before making a decision. Consider factors such as location, size, amenities, and price when looking for a property. It may also be helpful to consult with a real estate agent or professional who can provide guidance on the local market.


Overall, while housing in Seoul is expensive, there are still options available for those who cannot afford traditional housing options. It is important to understand the different factors that contribute to housing prices and consider alternative options when looking for a place to live. With careful consideration and planning, it is possible to find a suitable and affordable home in this bustling city.

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