Cover Find out which Korean stars own expensive properties (Photo: The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images, Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images for Burberry, Han Myung-Gu/WireImage)

From BTS members and Song Hye-kyo to IU, these Korean stars own luxury properties in upscale Seoul neighbourhoods

With fame comes fortune. With the rise of K-pop, K-dramas and K-mania going strong, several Korean stars have also amassed wealth that allowed them to purchase and own luxury properties, whether it's a penthouse suite or an entire building in Korea's most affluent districts.

Every time these famous stars splurge on new properties, it always catches the attention of fans, particularly because living and owning property in South Korea is not cheap. Being able to purchase a lavish apartment in upscale districts just show how much they earn. Curious to find out who owns what? Read on to find out more.

Editor's note: This list is not exhaustive and the figures are taken from publicly available information on the estimated prices that were converted from Korean won.

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1. BTS

Being the biggest selling artistes of 2020, it's no surprise that BTS also own expensive properties. Both RM and Jimin have recently purchased an apartment in the upscale Nine One Hannam complex, which is often called the Beverly Hills of Korea and is one of the most expensive apartment complexes in Seoul. According to sources, RM's apartment cost around US$5.7 million for around 293.93 square metres while Jimin spent US$5.3 million on an apartment of the same size.

RM previously bought a US$4 million apartment in Hannam The Hill, the same residence where BTS lives as a group and one of the most exclusive apartment buildings in Asia. Jimin bought an old apartment complex before worth US$3.9 million in Banpo Jugong, also near the Han River. When the apartment undergoes restoration and remodelling, the value will likely increase.

Meanwhile, Jungkook purchased a house in Itaewon early this year. The two-storey house is priced at US$7 million (worth more than the group's home) and spans around 230.72 square metres. It's located about five minutes away from RM and Jimin's new apartment. Before this, he bought a US$2.3 million apartment in Seoul Forest Trimage but has sold it since.

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Other members of the group also have their own luxury properties. Jin bought his own apartment in Hannam The Hill. The property is said to cost about US$3.4 million and was a gift to his parents, giving 35 per cent of the ownership to them. Before that, Jin bought a 614 square feet unit in 2018 worth US$1.5 million and eventually sold it in 2019.

Suga bought an apartment in the UN Village for about US$3 million. This complex is also expensive thanks to its proximity to the Han River, a popular tourist destination. On the other hand, V bought a property in Apelbaum, Gangnam worth US$4.55 million and about 283 square metres. The location is popular among artists and celebrities for its tight security and views of the Han River.

J-hope is the first among the group to own an apartment located in Trimaje, Seongsu way back in 2016. It's reported to cost around US$1.2 million and has since increased in value.

2. IU

Famed K-pop soloist and actress IU recently purchased an expensive penthouse flat in Cheongdam, an upcoming high-end neighbourhood in Seoul. She reportedly spent US$11.7 million in cash. The residential unit in Eterno Cheongdam is still under construction and is expected to be done by September 2023.

Upon completion, Eterno Cheongdam is set to become South Korea's most expensive property with its top floors—the Super Pent units—costing US$26.5 million each. The lavish 20-storey residential complex is designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, Rafel Moneo and marks his first project in Asia.

Currently, IU is living in Raemian Caelitus in Yongsan district, also known for its Han River views. This residential area is valued at around US$2.6–3.3 million.

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3. Song Hye-kyo

Hallyu star Song Hye-kyo is one of the most sought actresses in South Korea with popularity extending over to Asia. It's been reported that the actress recently spent around US$17.5–19.5 million on a building in Hannam. The seven-year-old building has five floors and two basement floors.

Other than this recent splurge, Song also owns three buildings in the affluent Samseong, Gangnam neighbourhood. In 2020, she sold one of her properties for US$7 million. Being one of the highest-paid stars in Korea, owning multiple properties is no surprise for Song.

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4. Kim Tae-hee and Rain

Besides the power couple that they are, Kim Tae-hee and Rain are also the kings and queens of real estate, listed as the richest Korean celebrities in real estate in 2020 by Entertainment Weekly Live. The couple reportedly owns US$72 million in real estate value.

Even before marrying pop star Rain, Kim already owns three buildings in Gangnam that are valued at US$12 million while Rain also has expensive properties of his own. He has a villa that costs US$5.3 million and a shopping centre in Cheongdam priced at US$21.4 million. The couple lives in a two-storey house in Hannam, which they bought three months before getting married for US$4.4 million.

According to Korea Times, when Kim sold a building in Gangnam in March—which she bought all the way back in 2014—she reportedly received US$6.37 million. Meanwhile, Rain's property in six-storey Cheongdam which he bought in 2008, skyrocketed in value after renovation in 2017. He's reported to earn US$26 million in profits. Now, his own company, as well as a cafe, restaurant and other businesses, operate there.

But the couple's property extends beyond South Korea as they also bought a US$2 million house in California in 2019.

5. Son Ye-jin

K-drama fanatics know who Son Ye-jin is but her wealth and popularity definitely skyrocketed following the success of Crash Landing On You (CLOY). The Korean star now has a Hollywood debut in the line-up, a Valentino ambassador and plenty of other beauty endorsements on the list which increased her fortune.

Son bought a US$14.4 million commercial building in Gangnam. The six-storey building is home to beauty-related enterprises. Before the popularity of CLOY, Son already bought a US$8.2 million building in 2015 in the Mapo district and sold it three years later for US$12 million.

6. Jun Ji-hyun

Song and Kim already made the list so it's no surprise that the last member of "Tae-Hye-Ji" trio, Jun Ji-hyun also owns lavish properties. Jumpstarting the Hallyu wave and spreading Korean dramas all over Asia, Jun has accumulated quite a fortune over the years she's been acting. Her hard-earned wealth allowed her to purchase a US$28.5 million building in Gangnam in cash. She's reported to have a total of US$66.4 million in real estate wealth.

In 2007, she bought a US$7.1 million building in Nonhyeon. Then in 2013, bought a US$4.8 million building in Incheon. A year later, Jun revealed that she also owns a US$14 million building in Nonhyeon and in 2015, purchased a US$3.6 building in the same area. Before Jun's hiatus, in her last project The Legend of the Blue Sea, she's reported to earn about US$84,000 per episode. Her commercials also added US$11.9 million to her fortune.

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7. Big Bang's G-Dragon and Taeyang

Being the "kings of K-pop" that they are, Big Bang members G-Dragon and Taeyang also own luxury properties. Chanel ambassador G-Dragon is one of the richest K-pop stars and owns two cafes in Jeju Island as well as a number of buildings. One of them is Galleria Fore, priced at US$27 million. In 2017, he also became the owner of a building worth US$8.8 million.

Meanwhile, Taeyang also owns a US$3.75 million villa in UN Village and in 2016, bought a seven-story building in Hannam for US$6.9 million.

8. Suzy Bae

The nation's "first love" as she's called, Suzy Bae also owns a luxury building in Samseong, Gangnam. Due to her popularity as an actress, member of former Girl Group, Miss A, and beauty and fashion endorsement allowed her to purchase a US$3.7 million apartment. She's also ranked number one for female idols with the most expensive homes according to Mnet's TMI News.

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9. Lee Jong-suk

Although Lee Jong-suk's 89 Mansion cafe has closed down, the popular Korean actor still has plenty in his real estate portfolio. He owns a villa at Nine One Hannam priced at US$4.2 million and three properties in Hannam at US$13.6 million. He bought an abandoned building in Sinsa for US$4.5 million which became the 89 Mansion though he sold it and earned US$2.3 million.

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