Types of Housing in Korea

Category : Korean Cultures / Surviving in Korea
Nov 28, 2014

 There are a variety of housing accommodations in Korea ranging from small studios to large multiple bedroom apartments. Consider your own situation and personal preferences before you rent. You will certainly be able to find something that is ideal for you. Read on to learn about all the places you can live while expating around Korea.

 

à Did you know?

  1. 1 pyeong/평 (the Korean counting system for apartment size)= approx. 3.4 square meters.
  2. Expect that your living space will be about 30-40% less than the apartment size stated. If the landlord says that your house is 10 pyeong, the total living space is probably going to be more like 7 pyeong.

 

Apartments

Apartments are usually crowded together in groups (a.k.a. lands). There are at least five apartments of about 10 plus stories high in one apartment neighborhood. The neighborhoods are very residential. They have parks and sporting facilities within walking distance or even directly on the complex. There is always a security man in the building and a maintenance office on the premises. There are garbage disposal areas, parking space, elevators, a building caretaker and shops and services nearby. Utilities are provided for the whole building but individuals pay for their own usage. In addition to electricity, water and gas, the total bill includes a mandatory maintenance for the caretaker. Apartments on these complexes can be small (10 pyeong) or large (32 pyeong or more), but they are generally geared towards families and have multiple bedrooms.

 

Consider an apartment if:

  1. You are planning to stay in Korea for at least one year and potentially more.
  2. You have a family in Korea.
  3. You want a big living space.
  4. You want more amenities.
  5. You want a modern, new home.
  6. You want to live in a residential neighborhood.

 

Officetels

Officetels are popular among foreigners and are not grouped together in a complex like apartments. An officetel is combined living and office space. The building is comprised of rooms for living or office spaces. The apartments are equipped with a kitchen, a bathroom, heating and perhaps some other furnishing so someone may live there. The space can also be used to run a business. Officetels can be small (10 pyeong) or huge (more than 100 pyeong). There are often shops, restaurants and services directly in the building. They can be located in busy downtown areas, where there is not enough space for apartment villages. The utility fees are paid by the individual unit and there is usually a security/maintenance fee.

 

Consider an officetel if:

  1. You are planning to stay in Korea for at least one year and potentially more.
  2. You want a convenient place to live.
  3. You want to live in the city.
  4. You will be living alone or with one other person, although they can be great for families too.
  5. You want established security and a clean building.

 

One-room Buildings

           One-room buildings are apartment buildings filled with studio apartments. If they are 5 floors or less, there will not be an elevator. Any building over 5 floors must have an elevator. These studios are small, between 8 and 15 pyeong. Each studio will come partially furnished. There will be a desk, small kitchen with a burner, sink and shelving, and storage units built directly into the wall. One-rooms are clean, modern and space efficient. There will be a small bathroom and entrance to keep shoes. One-rooms may or may not have a security guard or maintenance fee. The maintenance fee may be included in the rent price. One-rooms are usually slightly cheaper than officetels or apartments of the same size. They can be located in busy areas, especially near offices and universities.

Consider a one-room building if:

  1. You are living alone.
  2. You plan to stay in Korea about one year, but perhaps not more.
  3. You want a relatively new building.
  4. You are a student or you want to live in a busy, downtown neighborhood.
  5. Security and apartment maintenance are not your first priority.
  6. You don’t mind a small living space.

 

Villas/ Dasyedae Jutaek (다세대주택)/ Dandok Jutaek (단독주택)

A villa, a dasyedae jutaek and dandok jutaek are styles of housing that are all very similar. Indeed a villa is not a fancy condo located near the sea. They are basically three to five story buildings divided into units. Villas are not monotonous like apartments and are often much older with more character.

 

A dasyedae jutaek is a house separated into apartment living spaces. There may be three or four apartments within one house. There are many dasyedae jutaeks near Itaewon and Noksapeyong Stations. They are commonly located in downtown Seoul or in the countryside. They sometimes come with furnishings. Dasyedae jutaeks are usually enclosed with a gate and they may have a courtyard, garden or roof top patio. They usually don’t have maintenance people or security guards so there is no fee for that. Utilities are paid by usage. Villas and dasyedae jutaeks are often larger than one-rooms at upwards of 10 pyeong per unit.

 

A dandok jutaek is the word for a single standing house in Korea. This is for one family. It is not divided into smaller apartments. It is a large house. It usually has a courtyard and garden. You can find single family dwellings in downtown Seoul and in the countryside. Space is limited in Korea and the population density, especially in the cities, is great so this type of housing is harder to come by. Dandok jutaeks are quite large and usually very expensive.

 

Consider a villa or dasyedae jutaek if:

  1. You want to live alone or with one or two other people and you also want a bigger space than a one-room can provide.
  2. You plan to stay in Korea about one year and potentially more.
  3. Security and apartment maintenance are not your first priority.
  4. You want to live in central Seoul in an older neighborhood.
  5. You don’t want to pay extra building fees (although this is not always the case)

 

Hasuks/ 하숙 집

Hasuks are like a mini dormitory inside a house. They are for students coming to the city from away to go to university or for business people who want to live close to their workplace. There are separate floors for men and woman and the bathrooms are shared. The rooms in a hasuk are extremely small (only a few pyeong) and come furnished, with a bed, minimal storage and a desk. There isn’t space for much else besides you and your clothes. They are cheap and paid monthly. They do not have utility, maintenance or security fees. Meals are often included in the monthly price.

Consider a hasuk if:

  1. You are a student or want to live in a student neighborhood.
  2. You are a business person or you want to live in a commercial district.
  3. You don’t mind living with a bunch of strangers or in a very small room.
  4. You don’t care to invite friends over often (some hasuk owners are more strict about visitors than others).
  5. You want cheap rent.
  6. You don’t want to cook.
  7. You plan to stay in Korea less than one year.

 

Gosiwons /고시원

Gosiwons are hasuks on steroids, similar to a large university dormitory. However, rooms are even smaller (2pyeong or less) than in a hasuk. Gosiwons are designed for students and company workers that just need a place to crash in the big city. These people usually head back to their hometowns on the weekends and therefore don’t need lavish accommodations. Gosiwons have built in furnishings like a bed and a dresser. They have shared or private washrooms and a kitchen. Meals are not included although sometimes there is rice, ramen, kimchi and tea available.

Consider a Gosiwon if:

  1. You are a student.
  2. You are a company worker.
  3. You want to live in a busy cosmopolitan part of Seoul.
  4. You don’t mind living with a bunch of strangers or in a very small room.
  5. You want cheap rent.
  6. You won’t be spending much time at home.
  7. You plan to stay in Korea less than one year.

 

Homestays

Homestays are a great option if you are staying in Korea in the short-term and you want to have a culturally enriched experience. At a homestay you will be staying with a Korean family. You will have your own bedroom but everything else will be shared. Amenities differ from homestay to homestay. You can stay at a homestay for a few months but they are not long-term accommodations. Visitors pay month-to-month rent if they stay longer than 1 month. Please read the article, Homestay Accommodations in Korea for more information.

Consider a Homestay if:

  1. You are here for the short-term. You are a student.
  2. You are a traveler.
  3. You want to learn Korean or more about Korean culture.
  4. You want cheap rent with maximum amenities for the price.
  5. You want to make new friends.

 

Serviced Residences

Serviced residences are luxury apartments with tonnes of spiffy amenities, such as daily breakfast, housecleaning and towel service, restaurants, pools, exercise facilities and golfing. They aren’t cheap but you probably won’t need to leave the complex ever. It’s ALL there! Some of these serviced apartments are for foreigners only, like DMC Ville, while most of them are for anyone. They also offer daily, monthly and yearly rates, so they can be a hotel or a long-term housing solution. There are many serviced apartments in Gangnam, Myeongdong and downtown Seoul. These accommodations all have English websites and English services. They are very foreigner friendly.

Consider a serviced apartment if:

  1. You want lots of amenities.
  2. You have a family.
  3. You don’t know how long you will be in Korea.
  4. You don’t want to spend time house hunting.

 

Check out this nifty chart to compare accommodations!

Amenities

Apartment

Officetel

Villa

Homestay

One-Room

Hasuk

Gosiwon

Serviced Residences

Small size (10 pyeong or less)

Bigger

Yes or bigger

Usually bigger

Bigger

Yes

Yes

Yes

Bigger

Includes some furnishings

Sometimes

Sometimes

Sometimes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Security guard

Yes

Yes

No

Depends

No

No

Yes

Yes

Utilities included in rent price

No

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Maintenance fee

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

Located near universities

Not often

Yes

Yes

Depends

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Located near businesses

Sometimes

Yes

Depends

Depends

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Jeonse contract

* click here for information about contracts

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

No

Wolse contract

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

No

Month-to-month contracts

No

Rarely

No

Yes

Rarely

Yes

Yes

Yes daily/
monthly/
yearly rates

Tags : Korea. House. Housing. Apartments. Lifestyle.

Lindsey lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea for over 5 years. While there, she dabbled in different areas of work and explored the culture. She spent time teaching elementary students, business English to adults and high school students about college preparation. She also studied Korean, wrote blogs and tasted as many foods as she possibly could including fermented skate fish. Over the years, Lindsey developed a love for Korea and the culture. She is keen to share her knowledge of Korea with others and she will always consider Korea a second home.

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