Apartments are perhaps by far Korea’s most popular housing option. As urban development and cost of living remains on the sharp rise, many Koreans view apartments as the residence of choice thanks to convenient amenities and proximity to public transportation and facilities such as supermarkets, district offices and schools. Apartments provide parking within the complex. The drawbacks to living in an apartment may include lack of privacy, restrictions regarding pets and noise depending on one’s neighbors.
Villas generally referred as town houses, are between the sizes of stand-alone homes and apartments. Villas usually have five or less floors and are usually situated in areas less-crowded than that of apartments. They can be built as single buildings and small, multi-building complexes, and often include shared gardens or yards. Villas tend to be relatively affordable due to their low maintenance costs, meaning that they often come at the price of no central management for security or maintenance, save for at luxury villas.
Efficiency Apartment (Officetel)
Officetels (from “office” and “hotel”) are located in high-rise buildings with both residential and office units available. Designed with a hotel-like atmosphere, officetels are more expensive than villas because they come with modern features and are very closely located to shops and services, which are often contained within the building itself. Many officetels come fully furnished and have short-term contracts ranging from one- to two-years, making them popular options for single urban professionals and wealthier students.
Private Residence (Detached house)
Private houses usually two-stories high and occupy their own lots, which often include a tiny garden or yard. While they offer privacy and rare green space, residential houses are becoming increasingly harder to find in urban settings as, due to the relative difficulty in upkeep, stand-alone have not proved very popular among residents.
Studios / One-Rooms
Studios, known as one-rooms in Korea, are found in buildings around five-stories high. These rooms are more affordable than efficiency apartments (Officetels) and thus popular with young urban professionals and students. It is important to note that these buildings are privately owned and thus may not have amenities such as parking lots found with apartments. Also, their close proximity to other residential and business buildings often results in a lack of sunlight and poor ventilation.