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The following map shows some of the more popular areas for foreign residents.

1. Hannam-dong & Itaewon
  Hannam-dong, the UN Village vicinity, contains the residences of several high ranking Korean officials and many foreign ambassadors. The Itaewon area, close to the Yongsan U.S. military garrison, is dotted with apartments, villas and large houses with gardens.
2. Seongbuk-dong
  The big advantage of living in Seongbuk-dong is its beautiful surroundings and clean atmosphere, as the hilly area is located near the wooded Mt. Bukhansan.
3. Pyeongchang-dong
  Situated within walking distance of Bukhansan National Park, it boasts fresh air and scenic beauty.
4. Yeonhui-dong
  Living in Yeonhui-dong offers advantages such as proximity to Seoul Foreign School, the British School and the Chinese School.
5. Bangbae-dong
  Bangbae-dong is a preferred residence among French people residing in Seoul as the French school is located here.
6. Gangnam & Apgujeong-dong
  These areas are very popular with wealthy Koreans. Besides, many multinational corporations are located in the Gangnam area.
7. Olympic Park Area
  There are several apartment complexes available here that were built for the Olympic athletes in 1988.
Statistics on House Rental Status by Area

Area Type Monthly Payment Majority Resident
* Flat (over 100 m2)
* Detached House
* Villa (165m2-130m2)
* Villa (65m2-130m2)
Detached House: 800-1,200
Villa: 200-900
All Nationalities
* Flat (80m2-140m2) 200-400 (Jeonse) Japanese
* Detached House
* Villa (130m2-230m2)
Detached House: 800-1,300
Villa: 350-500
American & European
* Detached House
* Villa (165m2-330m2)
Detached House: 700-1,000
Villa: 350-8,500
Residential areas are spread all over Seoul, excluding the business districts in the northern part of the city. Even in commercial areas in Apgujeong-dong or Sinchon, you will find residential areas behind the main thoroughfares. Besides, in the suburbs of Seoul, there are huge residential complexes in so-called “new cities” that have been developed over the last decade (Bundang, Ilsan, etc). There are different types of payment methods for purchasing or leasing houses in Seoul.
  For a foreigner wishing to purchase a house, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a real estate agent. The price generally depends on the location and the age of the building. A real estate agent will provide additional services like registration.
Rental Type 1: Jeonsea (Key Money)
  The Jeonse system is one of the traditional rental options in Korea. When making a contract, you pay 60 to 70 percent of the value of the house as a deposit. There are no monthly payments. This deposit is returned to you upon termination of the lease.

The fact that the Jeonse system has been popular in Korea for so long reflects the high interest rate of Korean banks. There is, however, a tendency these days to replace the Jeonse system with the Wolse system (monthly payment) as bank rates have declined.

  • Holding a house by lease on a deposit basis
  • Deposit is returned upon termination (only principal, not interest)
  • No monthly payments
  • Contracting period: 1~2 years on average
  • 10 percent of the deposit is paid at the time of contract signing
  • The remaining 90 percent of the deposit is paid when you move in

Tenants are responsible for maintenance.
Rental Type 2: Wuelsea (Monthly Payment)
There are 2 kinds of Wolse systems:
1) 10 to 20 times the amount of the monthly payment is deposited with the owner for the term of the lease. You also pay for the house rental monthly fee to the owner. The deposit is returned to the tenant upon termination of the lease.
2) This requires advance payment of the monthly rent at a set date every month for the entire lease term. No deposit is required. This system is popular among foreigners in Itaewon, Hannam-dong and Seongbuk-dong.
Rental Type 3: Boarding House
  This system is suitable for single individuals or students from foreign countries. Rent is paid monthly to the owner, and a contract is not required. In these settings, a landlord usually provides a room and two meals daily for the tenant.

Leasing Regulations

Administrative district offices ("gu" or "dong" offices) of Seoul City offer information on leasing regulations. Click for the contact information of those offices. If you need language assistance in English, call the Seoul Help Center for Foreigners at (82)2-731-6800~2.