Korea’s Real Estate Market: Are We Overreacting to Skyrocketing Property Prices?
The most popular conversation topic in Korea these days is not North Korea’s nuclear program or the KORUS FTA, but the skyrocketing real estate prices. The real estate market has been the subject of interest since the late 1970s when the government transformed rice paddies and green fields in southern Seoul (Gangnam) into the first modern residential district in Korea. During the economic recession in the early 1980s, the government further expanded green fields in Gangnam in order to help revive the ailing economy. It focused on building residential buildings, good infrastructure, and reputable schools. The former agricultural land, then worth 300 won per pyong (3.3 square meters), has now become the nation’s most expensive area, worth around 30 million won per pyong. The price of land in Gangnam has thus soared 100,000 fold in nearly three decades, making the original land owners very wealthy.