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Misun: 여러분, 안녕하세요. KoreanClass101.com입니다.
Keith: Welcome to KoreanClass101.com’s Korean Culture Class Lesson Number 23 - What He Didn’t Say Will Move Them Throughout Korea.
Misun: With us, you’ll learn to speak Korean with fun and effective lessons.
Keith: And we also provide you with cultural insights.
Misun: And tips you won’t find in a textbook.
Keith: All right, so we’re back and welcome back to our culture class. My name is Keith Kim and I'm joined, again, in the studio by the lovely Misun.
Misun: 감사합니다. 안녕하세요. 미선이에요.
Keith: Hi, Misun. So, do you like moving to new places?
Misun: Well, not really. I don’t really like to moving into another place often. I’d rather stick around to where I am right now.
Keith: Well, I did hear that moving is probably the second most stressful thing that can happen to someone in their life.
Misun: Yeah, that’s true.
Keith: It’s very, very stressful.
Misun: Yeah, that’s true. Actually is not only in Korea that people move around from city to city, but I think people in Korea tend to move more often within the city than people in other countries.

Lesson focus

Keith: Yeah, I get that impression too, so what do we talk about moving in Korea in this culture class lesson? But to begin with, let’s go over house prices. Home prices in Korea have soared, absolutely soared over the past 50 years, right?
Misun: That’s true, soaring, really. Especially over the past 30 years or so, with the economic development… Wow, unbelievable!
Keith: Yes, it has really gone up.
Misun: Aha.
Keith: And although this made it very difficult for people to own their own house, a lot of Korean people still try really hard to buy their own house.
Misun: Exactly. And this can take many, many, many years.
Keith: Are you counting? It seems you counting how many years.
Misun: I want to buy a house, that’s why.
Keith: But yeah, people still save money to buy a house, right?
Misun: Yeah that’s true. Or to buy their son a house when he gets married.
Keith: And that must be huge.
Misun: Yes, it’s still very common in Korea.
Keith: So, roughly, how much does it cost to have, let’s say, your own apartment in Korea. To be more specific, how about … let’s say 3-bedroom apartment in Seoul?
Misun: Well, it depends on what part of Seoul you are thinking of. So on average as of now in 2009, in cheaper areas, you might pay around 200 million Won but in more expensive areas, you can expect to pay more than 400 or 500 million won to buy an apartment.
Keith: Wow, I think that’s really expensive. So, how does everyone manage to buy their own house? I have always had this question I never understood why everyone can buy their own house, it’s so expensive.
Misun: Well, that why a lot of people spend years and years, after years and after years saving money to buy a house or they live in a house on a 전세.
Keith: What’s that word again?
Misun: 전세.
Keith: And can you help us out? What does that mean?
Misun: 네. 전세 is literally the deposit that you pay when you move in, but in Korea, this depository money is extra huge.
Keith: Okay, about how much?
Misun: It’s usually 40 - 50 percent of this house price or even higher than that.
Keith: Okay, that’s still cheaper than buying a house, but what happens to the money when you want to move out?
Misun: They give you the same amount of money back when you move out. And the landlord can do whatever they want to do with your depository money, like putting it in a bank and getting interest or investing in something, so they can get more money.
Keith: So, this money that you pay as a deposit and the money that the landlords, they can use for whatever they want, investing, putting in the bank, getting interest, that money - what is that money called?
Misun: 전세금.
Keith: And the 금 at the end means money or fee?
Misun: 네, 맞아요.
Keith: What if you still too young to afford this kind of money like me? I don’t have this kind of money, even the 전세, which is much cheaper than the actual home price, this is still very expensive. What can I do, someone like me?
Misun: Well, me too. I don’t have money too. So, in that case, we or you, can live on 월세.
Keith: And let’s have that word one more time?
Misun: 월세.
Keith: And this means…
Misun: Monthly rent. You can also add 금 at the end, and say 월세금. But people usually just call it 월세. Basically, you pay more money monthly and pay less deposit at first.
Keith: And how much is less? I have a feeling I still won’t have that kind of money?
Misun: How it usually works is, if you can give the landlord a similar or a larger amount of monthly rent that they can make out of bank interest by holding on to your deposit money, you can reduce the amount of deposit money that you pay.
Keith: Okay. So, for example, let’s say you’re looking for a small apartment with two rooms, near a university. How much would that approximately cost?
Misun: Is not completely downtown, right? So, the deposit money will be around 50 million Won. And if you have the money, it’s good. But if you don’t, which is the case for most young people like us, You talk with the landlord and cut it down to 10 million won. And you give them 400,000 won each month as monthly rent. Or cut it down to 30 million won and pay 200,000 won monthly.
Keith: Well, can you go without paying any deposit at all?
Misun: There are some places where you can do that. But, that for really small rooms like 고시원 but that usually for temporary stays and not for a family to settle down in or a newly married couple to start living together.
Keith: Well, before we move on, I think that’s a really good word for some of our listeners. Maybe some of our listeners will be stopping by Seoul or they don’t want to get an apartment because they are not going to stay forever or they don’t want to get a hotel, it’s too expensive. Where can they stay?
Misun: In that case, 고시원 would be better.
Keith: Right, so you could just pay a small fee, not as much as rent as an apartment would be but it’s cheaper than a hotel. It’s really a small room though.
Misun: 네. Really small.
Keith: Moving on. Basically, there is still this somewhat big amount of deposit money that goes in.
Misun: 예. And this is where a lot of Korean young people, when they get married, ask for their parents’ help.
Keith: Yeah, like you said earlier, I think most Korean parents actually expect to have to help their children with this, right?
Misun: 네, 맞아요. People would love to buy their children, usually sons, not daughters a house to live in with his new family. But most people can’t do that. So they want to give them at least the money for 전세, the deposit.
Keith: So how about yourself? Do you want to do that too, do you want to give your children or child some money to buy a house?
Misun: Of course not.
Keith: What? You need to get your own place first.
Misun: Oh my god.
Keith: And you don’t want probably to get some money from kids too, right?
Misun: Probably. Keith, what about yourself?
Keith: Well, I mean I have been moving around a lot and I would like my own place yeah. I think I am going to be bugging my dad, not necessarily preparing to give my kids. Well, I’m going to be bugging my dad cause I have been moving around a lot.
Misun: And those who really want to have their own houses really fast they got to move around a lot within the city.
Keith: Why is that?
Misun: This was possible because of the rising house prices in Korea. But you buy a house, and two years later the house price will be higher so you sell the house, and move again for a better house with a better price, and after few times, you can have the house you want, that’s how it works.
Keith: So you just keep on moving and moving until you get more money the house price goes up and you can move on to where you ultimately want to go.
Misun: In a lot of times too. But this is pretty common in Korea. And this is why it’s common to see people moving within the city. So if you are, Keith, in Korea, you should move more often, as usual.
Keith: Rather than that, because it can be stressful, right?
Misun: Right. It’s really stressful and you should bug your father more often.
Keith: That’s my plan. I’m just going to bug my dad.
Misun: Right.
Keith: Come on, dad, I want my own place. Yeah, moving around a lot, that happens a lot. But this can be expected to continue only if the house prices if the home prices keep rising, right?
Misun: 예, 맞아요. Very recently, there was something interesting going on.
Keith: What’s that?
Misun: Due to the bad economy home prices in some parts of Seoul actually went down a bit, so, the 전세 deposit for the house, went down a bit too, so the people ask their landlords to give them part of their money back.
Keith: Oh, okay. So, because the home isn’t as expensive as it used to be, people felt that they don’t have to pay too much.
Misun: That’s right. So, what happened was the landlords who didn’t have enough money to circulate at hand, they chose to pay the tenants some money monthly.
Keith: So that’s kind of reverse monthly rent.
Misun: I know. Yeah.
Keith: That’s unbelievable.
Misun: I believe it was really hard for the landlords.
Keith: Yeah, I bet so, they are used to getting the money.
Misun: Yeah. I can believe it.
Keith: I wish that will happen to me.
Misun: Happen to me too, please.


Keith: Well, so we talked about moving in Korea in this lesson.
Misun: 네. And if you want to read up more on the moving culture in Korea, be sure to pick up today's lesson notes PDF.
Keith: And don’t forget to read the cultural insight section.
Misun: If you have any question about moving or getting a house in Korea, stop by and ask.
Keith: At KoreanClass101.com. Well, we don’t have a real estate agent on our staff, but we can definitely share the info that we have.
Misun: Of course, we’ll see you at the website.
Keith: Bye-bye.
Misun: Bye. 안녕히 계세요.