Types of houses in Korea

Updated: Jan 31

There are external and internal factors that one should consider when looking for a house. We hope the neighbor is neat and tidy, and has a good transportation infra. On the inside of the house, we might want it to be clean and cozy, and spacious. But we won't get all what we want in reality. Depending on types of houses, space, location, the rent price differs greatly. One of the basic steps is to know the types of houses in Korea. Once you understand them, it will be easier to guess their approximate renting prices and possible locations.

General detached house

Detached house (Dandok Jutaek in Korea) is the most basic unit. They are usually one or two story high. In a small and crowded country like Korea, especially in an urban, it is difficult to obtain a land and build your own detached house. Therefore, new ones usually come out as collaborative houses. Which in other words, detached houses were their for decades and you will most likely find them very shabby and old. There are wolses out for these houses and many time the owner lives on one floor and rents out the other floor.

They can be rather cheap but it will often comes with insects, leakage, cold air, etc. Be extra cautious when inspecting the house, and you might find a bargain.


Villa is a decent place for you to nest for a while. The volume is smaller than an apartment as it has limits in spaces, stories, and number of houses that can contain by the law. But they come out fairly clean and you will easily find some newly built villas in cities. By the number of rooms they contain, the units are often called one-room, two-room, or three-room. Compared to apartments, it is true that the durability is somewhat lesser. However, for expats who would want to stay for a couple of years, wouldn't be a big problem. Especially for study abroad students, you would be looking for one-rooms a lot. Moreover, compared to the next types that we will be looking at, villas are relatively cheaper.


The concept of office-tel started from SOHO, where they work and sleep at a same place. But now, office-tel became just another type of residing place in Korea. There are clear ups and downs for an office-tel.

First of all, they are relatively cleaner than other types of residents, and well maintained both inside and outside of the room. Most of the time there are maintenance offices and guards within the building so you will feel safe. Office-tels are mostly located near subway stations or in the core places within a city, which offers great accessibility.

Then what is the down side of it? Price of course. While most office-tels are very small, their renting prices are way more expensive than villas. In Seoul, you will at least get to pay 700,000 KRW (worth 578 USD) per month for half a size of a similarly priced one-room villa.

(Official statistics for pricing can be searched at Korea Real Estate Board)


You will see numbers of rectangular blocks here, called apartments. Apartment is a typical living unit for married couples or families in Korea. Compared to other types of residents, apartments are safe and solid. Because the price of apartments are growing higher everyday, it's been a mean for accumulating wealth in Korea, or perhaps vice-versa (egg or hen). For most of temporary expats they aren't worth searching for because of how expensive they are. But if you are willing to really settle in Korea or getting married, you will one day consider living in an apartment. Some apartments with several rooms are used as shared-houses. These types will cost you similar to villas, so it is good to keep an eye on them as another option.


Gosiwon is a very small room where students or examnees reside for a while. If you have a tight budget, then gosiwon can be an option. If you think you will spend most of the time out and only come back to sleep, then fine too. But other than that, gosiwon is not a preferable choice. They come with full options in a very tiny space. Most of the time, you are lucky to have a window. The only good part of gosiwon is that they are very affordable. Possibly you won't even need a deposit money.

(Read more about gosiwon from wiki)

▶ Click here to read why cheap priced rooms are mostly a skam.

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