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When you look at the skyline of Seoul, you’ll notice a lot of buildings that look the same.  Same height, same color and the same style, all in the same area.  When you get closer to these building,s you begin to notice that these are apartments.  In fact, you would have trouble finding an actual house in Seoul.  Listings for vacancies are typically for apartments ro rooms for rent.  So why are there so many apartments in Seoul?  And how does this play a part in Korean life?

Building High Not Wide

The Republic of Korea has limited land space.  This is due to it being surrounded by water and having a number of mountain.  In fact, you can go from Seoul to the very southern tip of the South Korean mainland in less than 5 hours by bus or car.  As a result, buildings must be built higher and not wider.  Because of limited space, Seoul has become a concret jungle similar to New York.  If you were to find a house in the area, it would be very expensive to buy.  This would explain why sometimes the same house is used for multiple Korean dramas.  It would be too expensive for a production company to have multiple houses in the area to maintain and renovate just to make the appearance different for each drama that is shot.

How This Affects Korean Life

Because of many people living in apartments in Seoul, things tend to be smaller and more compact.  You rarely see big dogs in Korea due to there not being a lot of places for them to run around.  Some apartments have a stove on top of the washing machine, and possibly no electric dryer.  Some apartments have a shower head above the sink or the toilet instead of a separate area for showering.  Many Koreans make the best of the space that they have to live in.  And some apartments come pre furnished so you don’t have to worry about moving a bunch of furniture up and down a bunch of stairs.  It can be amazing what you can get used to in just a small space.

If you are someone who wants a house and a yard similar to what many families have in North America, Seoul will not be the place for your.  But if you don’t mind having an apartment, or being in an area where there are multiple apartment buildings that are similar to yours, than Seoul can be a place you can consider moving to.  You will get what you pay for, so be careful about super cheap apartments.  But you can find some spacious, luxury apartments in Seoul also.  While Seoul may lack the big house with the white picket fence that you’ve always wanted, it can give you exactly the type of home you need.  But either way, I hope you won’t feel strange looking at the number of apartments in Seoul.

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