Housing Locations In Seoul
The Han River divides Seoul and people live on either side. North of the river is older and is where most expats have traditionally lived. South of the river is a newer area that has become a favored location for many affluent Koreans. Many businesses are located here and therefore, it is also popular with young professionals.
NORTH OF THE RIVER:
Although expats live all over the city these days, some areas are still more popular than others. May choose the Itaewon, Hannam or Ichon-dong areas because they are closer to many of the social activities of the expat community, which can be very important to the non-working spouse. Pyeongchang-dong and Seongbuk-dong are also very popular with families although they are a little further away and less accessible by/with public transit. The two areas are hilly but contain more large homes than some of the others. Because of its location to schools, Seodaemun-gu (inclues Yonheei-dong) is also a choice location for some families, although it is the most isolated from the expat ‘social’ area – Itaewon.
Yongsan-gu (district) is home to a high percentage of foreign residents. The Itaewon and Hannam areas are located in Yongsan. Corporate expats and their families live here as do some military families and individuals. Many English teachers live here as well as in Haebangchon (part of Itaewon). Housing in somewhat less expensive in Haebangchon and so it attracts many people from all over the world including those who pay their own rent (as opposed to an employer covering the cost).
SOUTH OF THE RIVER:
Included in the south of the river choices, Gangnam and Sochu-gu are becoming increasingly popular with foreign residents. Bangbae-dong has long attracted members of the French community. Many single professionals and English teachers live in this area, which is also home to young well-to-do Korean families.
An increasing number of people are also opting to leave a shorter distance from the working partner’s workplace or in areas that are not inhabited by lots of other expats. There are no restrictions on where you can live as a foreign-resident nor are there any security advantages in living in the foreigner-designated areas. You may not have access to some of the amenities found in those areas of the city, but then, again, you may have others, sometimes even better ones. If you have children, however, it may be better to locate nearer the school or on/near the school bus route. Housing is sometimes less expensive in areas in which fewer expats live, but you may also encounter more culture differences with the property owner. As in anything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to any of the choices.
Some projects outside the traditional expat areas are also offering special housing for foreign residents, and some of these are include international schools and other services for the foreign community.
Basically, foreign nationals can live anywhere in the city. Some chose specific areas because of the presence of other expats and the availability of 'familiar' services and products, while others opt to live where there are fewer foreign nationals. Regardless of where you choose to live, you will have Korean neighbours and a Korean flavour to the neighbourhood.
For information on specific apartments or projects, check out the Korea4Expats.com Directory: http://www.korea4expats.com/Housing-service.html. For serviced apartments, click here.
K4E Editor's Note: Korea4Expats.com wants to provide the most accurate and complete information possible so if you noticed any errors or omissions on this page, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
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