Types of Korean houses
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.
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.
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.
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.
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