Government expands affordable housing program for young adults

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Government expands affordable housing program for young adults

As interest in the government’s affordable Haengbok apartments continues to grow, the government is increasing the supply of these units, which offer relatively low-rent leases to young people, including college students, recent graduates and newlyweds.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport; Ministry of Employment and Labor; Korea Land Housing Corporation; and Korean Worker’s Compensation and Welfare Service signed an agreement last week to redevelop 820 apartment units originally built for low-income working women and convert them to 1,610 Haengbok apartment units.

These apartments are currently located in Geumcheon District in southwestern Seoul; Incheon; Bupyeong and Bucheon in Gyeonggi; Sasang District in Busan; Buk District in Daegu; and Chucheon in Gangwon.

The apartments to be converted are currently managed by the Korean Worker’s Compensation and Welfare Service. Under the service, the units have only accepted working women who are 35 years of age or younger and whose monthly income is 1.63 million won ($1,480) or less, but lately, they have been losing tenants because the apartments, built between 1988 and 1990, are aging.

In order to serve the initial purpose of the apartments, half of the newly converted units will be provided to working women.

The remaining apartments will be given to college students, recent graduates and newlyweds.

The conditions for leasing the new apartments will follow the same conditions for other Haengbok apartments, including qualifications on total assets and income of the applicants.

The rent in Haengbok apartments is 20 to 40 percent lower than other housing in surrounding neighborhoods, and tenants are allowed to sign a maximum 10-year contract.

The government plans to the approve the redevelopment project by the end of this year and complete the blueprint next year in order to break ground in 2018, begin accepting tenants in 2019 and hopefully complete move-in by 2020.

“Like this project, we plan on building more Haengbok apartments by recycling outdated lease apartments located within the cities,” said Ha Dong-soo, who leads public lease apartment projects at the Land Ministry.

The ministry also announced last week that it has secured land to build 16,844 units of Haengbok apartments in 76 locations across the country.

Of the total, 8,388 units in 39 areas were secured by local governments. The Gyeonggi provincial government secured the largest amount of land and plans to build over 5,100 Haengbok apartment units across 23 locations. This includes 300 units in Pangyo, 400 units in Guri and 300 in Gwanggyo.

The ministry added that it has designated 5,450 Haengbok units in five areas as specifically for newlyweds. This includes 800 units in Suseo-dong, southeastern Seoul; 2,000 units in Goyang and Janghang in Gyeonggi; and 450 units in Dongtan2 in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi.

The apartment complexes will include facilities that will help young married couples raise their families, such as government-run day care centers, cafes for kids and children’s hospitals.

With the additional land, the total number of Haengbok apartments, including those that are completed and in progress, will be 139,512 units across 301 locations. The government’s goal is to supply 150,000 Haengbok apartments by 2017.

“Among the selected areas, development companies owned by local governments such as the Gyeonggi Urban Innovation Corporation will be in charge of 87 percent of the Haengbok apartment development projects,” a ministry official said. “As there is keen interest in Haengbok apartments, we will continue to expand such housing units to meet high demand.”

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