Sunday, November 1, 2009

Real Estate Business and Living in Korea

Korea is situated on a mountainous peninsula. It extends 600 miles southward from its borders with China and Russia. It is famous for its fishing waters and unsurpassed beauty. It is often called 'the land of the morning calm'. The culture of the country has a long history of over 5,000 years.

Present day Korea has been rebuilt itself from the ruins and devastation of war and it has achieved an unbelievable economic miracle in just 40 years. It serves as a model even for many developing nations. The land's fame as an attractive tourist destination has been boosted by hosting many major world events such as the Asian Games. The country attracts tourists from around the world with its exceptional hospitality, warmth and kindness.

Most common housing in the country is traditional single family houses and apartments. The typical size of a Korean residential unit is about 112 square meters and it is priced about USD $94,000 on the average. About half of the country's population owns their own homes. Real estate market has gone down dramatically following the Asian economic crisis and a thorough rebuilding was required by the International Monetary Fund.

The American dollar's favorable exchange rates to the Korean and the government's liberal policies encouraging foreign investment have made all types of Korean properties very attractive. They include residential, commercial, investment and development properties.

In Korea, real estate is considered the base of all human activities. It takes a very prominent place in the economic life of the nation. As towns and cities in the country grow continuously, the real estate market also continues to grow rapidly, making its impact more substantial every day. The importance assigned to real estate business is comparatively new in Korea and is against traditional practices. Real estate transactions were conducted under the table until recently, owing to social perceptions and taxation issues.

Because land is the basis for all human enterprises, real estate business demands various kinds of expert knowledge. Many real estate agents and professional appraisers in the country did not care to work in an organized and systematic manner in the past.

However, as the country became an information based society with the advent of the Internet, an increasing number of people began to realize the changes in the business environment. These people demanded that real estate agencies become more professional and informed. The adoption of international standards has largely helped to bring about these welcome changes.

Living in Korea can be a thrilling experience if it is your first tryst with an Asian culture.
To cater to the needs of the wide range of people living in Korea, there are many different types of accommodations including bachelor suites and studio apartments as well as apartments and other kinds of housing. If you have come to Korea without a family to work there as a teacher or instructor, you will probably live in a typical studio apartment or bachelor suite that caters to the busy lifestyle of a single person.

These apartments may not be very spacious but are quite adequate for a single person to spend his/her days comfortably off. Fortunately, most of these apartments are very clean and kept in good condition. If you are expecting a luxurious housing unit, you will be disappointed.

Most of the apartments have modern and western style bathroom facilities such as toilet, sink and shower. Bathtubs are found very rarely in single housing accommodations in Korea. Most people working alone in the country will have a housing called 'villa' or 'officetel.' Most single housing in the country belongs to either of these two structures that are spread throughout the city.

The smaller buildings are called 'villas.' A majority of the villas are situated in the residential areas of the city. They are more affordable because of the low maintenance costs. These buildings generally house an owner who resides in the building itself and plays the role of the caretaker. The tall buildings that house both residential and light commercial accommodations are referred to as 'officetels. They are all relatively new, indicating that they are an outcome of updated technology.

Most of the officetel suites have a keyless entry and other excellent features, depending on the location and other things. The costs of the officetels may be higher than the villas owing to the costs involved in the building maintenance.

One of the advantages of living in an officetel is that you enjoy close proximity to shops, clinics and other services, which are often housed in the building itself. Generally, your single housing accommodation will come furnished with a bed, refrigerator, oven, A/C, fan and washing machine for your convenience, under the monthly remuneration package.

By Wantanee Khamkongkaew

Wantanee Khamkongkaew is an independent author evaluating and commenting on leading International Property Consultants in Asia and Greater China, especially CB Richard Ellis.

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