Language(s): Korean, English
Total Area: 99,538 km²
GDP (in million USD): 1,007,084
South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is a sovereign state located in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. The name "Korea" is derived from Goryeo, a dynasty which ruled in the Middle Ages.
Rapid expansion of urban areas, especially the expansion of Seoul and Pusan, has resulted in considerable changes in the urban landscape. Before 1960 there were few multistory buildings; even in Seoul, most structures were lower than 10 stories. Between 1988 and 1992, in response to a housing shortage created by rapid urbanization, the government sponsored the creation of more than 2.5 million housing units, mostly in the form of apartments. Construction continued at a similar rate in the years immediately following. High-rise buildings, especially apartment blocks, are now common in the cities. By the early 21st century more than half the country's population lived in apartment buildings. Because of this rapid growth, city services, such as water, transportation, and sewage systems, generally have lagged behind the needs.
South Korean house prices bounced back in 2011, after a slow second half of 2010. Housing starts and transaction volumes were strongly up. House prices rose by 6.86% during 2011, according to the Korean Statistical Information Service (KOSIS). The Seoul house price index was up by 0.29% during 2011, less than the national house price index.
The government has unveiled another set of measures in helping the housing market, including cutting the levy on profits made from home sales by multiple homeowners from 50% - 60% to 6% - 35%. This is the third installment of housing market boosting measures by the government, following the slashing of home purchase taxes in March 2011 and the easing of real estate lending restrictions in August 2010.