property in Seoul
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Updated 6 months ago

Today, Seoul is one of the most developed metropolises in the world. Unfortunately, the city's population density and appeal make the real-estate market expensive and difficult to access.

The local real estate market

In 2017, a study by the bank "KB Kookmin Bank" estimated that the average price of apartments in Seoul was more than 500,000 euros. As of June 2019, the square-metre cost in the city centre exceeds 11 000 euros.

The Korean real estate market experienced a sharp fall between 2008 and 2010 but has climbed again thanks to government intervention. Besides, real-estate market prices differ significantly between the north of the city and the south, which includes the more trendy neighbourhoods of Seoul, such as Gangnam, which experienced higher prices than the observed average.

Seoul is the most expensive city in the country by far. By comparison, the average price of an apartment in the six other metropolitan cities of South Korea (excluding Seoul) averaged around 150,000 euros for the same period, according to the study of KB Kookmin bank.

To stabilise the Seoul real-estate market, which was highly speculative, the government took steps in August 2017 to limit loans dedicated to real-estate purchases to one per family and to limit bank loan rates. The acquisition of property in Seoul should be facilitated in the future by these actions, both for locals and for foreigners.

How to buy property in Seoul

Seoul is a city that requires a substantial investment for those who wish to become owners. However, if the necessary funds are collected, the purchase is possible for foreigners.

There are several Korean laws governing the acquisition of real estate in Korea that will need to be understood and followed, and legal help is strongly advised:

  • Land Acquisition Law for Foreigners;
  • Law on foreign exchange transactions;
  • Foreign investment promotion law;
  • the regulation of acquisitions, uses and land development that applies to both foreigners and locals.

Nevertheless, there is no absolute prohibition on the acquisition of real estate by a foreigner legally present in Korean territory. Thus, two categories of non-Korean nationals may claim real estate in Seoul: resident and non-resident alien residents.

Acquiring property in Seoul as a resident alien

Within 60 days of the signing of the contract of sale and the payment of the balance of the acquisition, the new owner must send a report to the land registry department on which the property depends and include the contract of sale and a copy of the registration of the real estate (which must be in the name of the seller).

The transfer of ownership title must be registered, still within 60 days of the signature of the contract with the registrar of the area of ​​the property. The documents to be provided for the registration are the certificate of registration for foreigners or the certificate of registration of the corporation (in the case of a purchase by a business) and the application for registration of the property with the contract.

For alien non-residents in South Korea, the procedure differs.

Acquiring property in Seoul as a non-resident alien

A non-resident alien wishing to acquire property in South Korea must prepare a copy of a document proving their nationality, a residence certificate or an address issued by the government of their country of origin. If the buyer is a company, it must provide a copy of a document identifying the company and including its address, always issued by the government of the country of origin of the company.

Non-resident aliens must also provide a report on the acquisition of real estate and the registration of the transfer of title.

Below is a summary available on the official website of the Korean Government "I Seoul U"

Report on the acquisition of a real estate property

  • Deadline for submission of the report, within 60 days of the signature of the contract (payment of the balance)
  • The report must be submitted to: Department of Cadastre, Si / Gun / Gu having authority over the area where the property in question is located.
  • Documents to be submitted: The contract of the real estate; a copy of the registration of the real estate (in the name of the seller)
  • Time taken for the assumption of responsibility: Immediately

Insurance of the registration number for registration of a real estate property

Documents to hand over:

  • For an individual: the passport or a copy of the certificate of nationality, a certificate of the report of acquisition of the property.
  • For a corporation: Please contact the Department of Cadastre (02-3703-5060), the Ministry of Government Administration and Local Affairs

 Good to know:

A power of attorney issued by the office of a notary public to the country of origin (for a foreigner) or by the consulate of the country concerned (for a Korean resident abroad) if applicable).

Office for the application:

  • For an individual - The Seoul Immigration Control Office (Mok-dong / 02-650-6237)
  • For a corporation - The Cadastre Department, Si / Gun / Gu having authority over the area where the property in question is located.

Time taken for the assumption of responsibility: Immediately

Registration of the transfer of the title

  • Deadline of the transmission of the report: within 60 days of the signature of the contract (payment of the amount of the balance)
  • The report must be given to the registrar having authority over the area where the property in question is located.
  • Documents to be submitted:
  1. The registration certificate for foreigners (for an individual) or the registration certificate of the corporation (for a corporation)corporation

  2. (* Concerning a resident alien, the registration number and address of the registration of real estate refers to the registration number of the alien and the address indicated on the certificate of registration of the alien or the registration certificate of the corporation).

  3. An application for registration, a document related to registration (contract etc), a registration certificate, a registration copy of the property.

  4. The power of attorney with stamp of the issuer (if applicable)

  • Time taken for the assumption of responsibility: Immediately

 Useful links:

Numbeo - Property prices in Seoul
Century 21- Seoul
Purchasing procedures in Seoul

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