The Gwang-Gyo district in Suwon is the nicest and most expensive area in Suwon. It's not surprising this is where the nicest park and most expensive apartments in the city are located.
This sunken splash park by the lake is as awesome as it looks. I took these pictures in early September when it was hot outside.
I am not going to bore you with more descriptions of what I see in the park. I figure the pictures themselves are good enough (I'll add captions).
So asides from being near a lovely park (there are lots of nice lake parks in Suwon), what makes this place so amazing and expensive?
I didn't go up the tower, maybe next time. I'd rather enjoy the view from a lakeside luxury apartment. There was a fake stream with children playing in it that looked nice.
Why is this Park so well located?
Well, not only does the lake park have 2 lakes that are completely different (the outlets eventually meet up), but it's very conveniently located. It's on the newest express subway line to Gangnam and only takes 20 minutes to get there. Normal subways would take 40. Also, the main Samsung Electronic plant (well it's more like a medium-sized city) is located in Gwang-Gyo about 1500m south of the lake park.
I didn't go into the splash park. These things look fun but they terrify me. I'm a bit of a germaphobe and they don't put enough chlorine in the water because children complain it burns. Little do they realize it only burns because of the reaction of the urine. The apartments in this photo are the ones I analyze below.
More people have probably heard of Samsung Electronics than Korea, You can only imagine lots of high paid managers work there. They all want to live somewhere nice, but not too far from work. In case you don't know, Samsung Electronics recently was valued at 30% of the KOSPI which is Korea's main stock exchange. Also, it accounts for usually at least 10% of the country's entire annual income and Korea ain't a poor country.
The boardwalk was nice.
This park is next to where Korea's silicon valley people want to live and at the heart of the consumer electronics high-tech industry, it's well connected by transportation, too. Also, its a damn nice area with a ton of excellent schools, shopping, parks and recreation nearby.
Houses around the Park
There are a few lowrise condo units around the park. At around 1.5 billion KRW each (1.3 Million USD), they are a little out of my price range. Hmm well, they are nice low rises and around 150-200 square meters each which is also a little bigger than I need.
These apartments are really expensive. Most expensive in the neighbourhood and between the two lakes.
So how about the high rises? Same. Any nice apartment around this lake is around double the size of an average 3 bedroom apartment in Suwon. It's also about 3x the price. You are paying Gangnam prices here. They are on par with the most expensive apartments in Seoul.
Sculpted public gardens are always a sign that a neighbourhood is doing well. There was a concert hall in front of this. I found it noisy, but it means the area is very entertaining and lively.
The whole thing saddens me a bit because I would love to live here. I could be at work in 20 minutes instead of 1 hour. Well, there is hope, they are overbuilding and Samsung may not stay on top forever. What am I thinking, that would mean doom for the Korean economy. The housing market collapses aren't always good.
Korea has 3 systems for housing, Monthly rents, buying and Jeonse. I'm sure you can figure out the first two, but Jeonse requires some explanation. Basically, you put down a massive deposit, typically 65% to 80% the value of the house, then you don't pay any rent (just condo fees and utilities).
If you can't read Korean this won't help you much. The one I clicked on has a lot of empty apartments. The one to the right of the text box is the most expensive in the area. Also, that highway is underground, so it won't bother the residents. Just a spectacular place to live.
Actually, renting here works similarly on a sliding scale. The more you deposit, the less monthly rent you pay. There is no such thing as first and last, to get a family apartment you need to put down a minimum of 40,000 USD. Even a dump will require a minimum of around 8000$. In these cases, you are paying between 500 and 2000 a month rent. The bigger your deposit is relative to the Jeonse price, the less your rent.
The other lake is a lot quieter and natural. I prefer it, but having this mix, only 200m from each other is what makes this place truly exceptional.*
The nice thing about Jeonse is you can get a loan. Since you aren't speculating on real estate, the loans are heavily subsidized. You are doing it to live in, not to invest. Also, the money is safer since it goes to the property owner who has to give it back. Typically jeonse loans are 1% to 0.75% cheaper than mortgage loans. The conditions to borrow money are also easier since your risk of default is low.
But wait, I mentioned that Jeonse is typically 65 to 80 percent the buy value. What happens when it is out of that range?
*I couldn't help myself. I had to include lilies even though I take too many photos of ponds and water plants. *
Well, if it is higher say 100% it can mean the house crashed in value, a bubble burst. Or no one expects the price to rise again soon. Or it's such an awesome place to live, no one wants to move out (there won't be jeonse available if this is the case). The government is manipulating the real estate market through price controls or insane taxes. In other words, this isn't really an investment property. You are probably better off to rent than to buy if you can, but there is a risk in that.
This is less of a park and more of a hike. Not quite as good for strolling, but still great for walking. Also, the view has a lot more trees and hills than gardens and apartments.
People aren't selling at low values because they will lose money. The place is a trap. It's a bad idea to live here, you gave the person a massive deposit which you should get back when you move out. However, if the jeonse ever goes above the buy price, the buyer may go bankrupt even after selling the place. In other words, your deposit is at risk. The system seems awesome, but this is a huge potential issue. People expect deposits back in full. The standard government insurance (it's like 5 dollars) will only help cover something like 70000 USD in losses and that's after the house is sold. No one will sell you full insurance on your deposit if there is any decent chance you aren't getting it back (basically they place needs to suffer an unexpected disaster nothing market related on the horizon).
Something tells me this area is being experimented with. I see these in the reservoirs closer to my house. They provide aeration and a place for algae to grow. It helps keep the lake healthy and clean the water.
Alternatively, if the Jeonse is a fraction of the buy value (50% or less) it is renter heaven. There is almost no risk you will lose your money unless you rented off a person with a massive mortgage on the property and probably ignored the advice of your real estate agent. It can mean 1 of 2 things. Number 1, the price just increased so massively due to speculation that the jeonse prices didn't catch up. Owners don't live here, they just wanted to buy it for an investment. Or number 2, the place is really crappy to live in. Maybe it is old or next to a dead industry. Maybe it is about to get smashed down and rebuilt. Owners don't want to live here and are waiting for reconstruction which may or may not ever happen. The government decides this stuff. If enough influential people aren't interested, permits won't be granted.
There were smaller ponds within ponds here. This place has more natural and they are taking care of it. Swamp plants are exceptional at removing contaminants from water and soil.
Gwang-Gyo Real Estate Market
Well, Gwang-Gyo used to be a light industry area, an old amusement park and farms. There is no rebuilding here. People just expect apartments to keep rising and rising. Samsung has been increasing in value exponentially and this place is located in the center of the Korean electronics industry. Unlike being next to heavy industry, it's fairly clean and nice.
I couldn't believe how close I got to this egret. Usually, they are a little shy and walk away from you. He had a great hunting spot.
So how about the Jeonse prices here? Around 50%. You can live in a 1.5 million dollar apartment rent-free if you give them 750,000 USD. Rent on the same place would require 50,000 deposit and 1800 a month. 100,000 deposit and around 1500 a month or 200,000 and around 1000 a month. Kinda neat huh?
There were large fields of flowers on the east side of the park closer to where the public parking is.
Jeonse doesn't tell that much about house value than rent or sale price can't tell you already, it's just a little different because you need to make sure you can get your deposit back. I do it, mine is a healthy 75% right in the middle. Also, the apartment prices where I live are lower than average for some odd reason I don't know. I think it's because redevelopment is limited since it's in a green belt. I need to figure that out if I ever want to buy property here. In the meantime, I'm very safe.
I was surprised to see sunflowers so late in the season. They didn't look that nice and most didn't even get a chance to flower. They are much better in June.
But, after seeing this beautiful lake, don't you want to live here too? I know I do. Maybe I can find a place half the size without a pristine lake view about 1km away for a more reasonable 500,000. I'll do it tomorrow if I can get one for 400,000. Let's see what the future brings. I can think of a few economic scenarios.
I think these are cosmos. But they are all the same colour. I guess it was the particular variety. These are a late summer flower. It's when the weather stops being so hot we can enjoy going outside again.
I've written about a few parks that I've explored before. My favourites are ones with ponds, rivers or lakes. My most recent park story was about the Soho West Lake Park. I'm sorry I got distracted on housing prices and values. I just really want to move to that park.
You can get mapping and real estate info here (Korean only): https://v4.map.naver.com/