Cover Son Ye-Jin, Suzy Bae, BTS' Jin (Image: Son Ye-Jin/@yejinhand, Suzy/@skuukzky, HYBE Coorporation)

From Rain and Kim Tae Hee to Son Ye-jin, these top Hallyu stars have been expanding their real estate portfolio with buildings in prime districts under their name

It’s not just the property market in Singapore that’s heating up—Korean celebrities have also been making headlines with their real estate purchases in South Korea. Here, we reveal some of the Korean A-listers with impressive property portfolios. 

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. Rain and Kim Tae Hee

This celebrity power couple often tops the charts when it comes to Korean stars with high-net-worths for a good reason. Proving that two heads are better than one, the couple reportedly owns approximately US$72 million in real estate investments.

Besides their shared US$4.4 million home in Itaewon, Hannam-dong, Kim Tae-Hee is also the owner of three buildings in Gangnam that have an estimated value of US$12 million altogether, while Rain owns a US$5.3 million private luxury villa and a six-storey shopping centre in Cheongdam-dong that skyrocketed in value and earned him US$26 million in profits after he renovated it in 2017.

The husband-and-wife duo made headlines last year when they decided to cut their rental fees by half during the pandemic in order to aid their tenants.

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2. Lee Hyori

Rain’s fellow Ssak3 project group member and veteran singer Lee Hyori is also a keen investor in real estate. Often acknowledged as one of the most successful female K-pop singers, Lee has amassed a considerable amount of wealth and has channelled a substantial amount of it in buying and selling properties.

Over the past couple of years, the singer is estimated to have sold US$6 million worth in real estate, including her famous Hyori’s Homestay bed-and-breakfast house, which she sold to the broadcast station. Her most recent property purchase is a five-storey building in Hannam-dong, Seoul, which she purchased for US$5 million. The commercial building houses Korean and seafood restaurants, together with a few offices.

Similar to Rain and Kim Tae Hee, Lee was praised for her generosity in waiving the entire rental fee for the month during the pandemic.

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3. Suzy

In 2016, Korean singer and actress Suzy Bae purchased a building in Gangnam district’s affluent Samseong-dong area, otherwise known as the Samsung neighbourhood. Purchased for approximately US$3.3 million, the mixed-use building has both residential and commercial spaces and spans a total of seven floors. Bae reportedly makes US$13,4000 monthly from rent. 

4. Jin from BTS

BTS member Jin has frequently professed his love for cooking. In 2018, the singer and his brother, Kim Seok-joong, opened a Japanese restaurant named Ossu Seiromushi. Jin currently serves as the co-owner and director, while his brother helms the restaurant as chief executive officer.

The contemporary establishment features ample use of wood, a minimalist colour scheme and sliding doors that reference traditional shoji doors. The restaurant specialises in Japanese-style cuisine where sliced beef, pork, and vegetables are cooked in rectangular bamboo boxes.

With an ideal location near Seoul’s Seokchon Lake, a major tourist attraction in close proximity to Lotte World, the popular restaurant is said to have drawn large crowds pre-pandemic. Last year, when the BTS member revealed on radio that the restaurant was badly affected by the lack of patrons due to the Covid-19 pandemic, flocks of fans showed their support by promoting the restaurant on social media and visiting the establishment after restrictions were lifted.

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5. Ha Jung-woo

South Korean actor Ha Jung-woo is one of the highest-grossing movie stars in the country. Notably, he is also one of the four actors in South Korea to have accumulated more than 100 million tickets in his starring films, and is the youngest to do so.

Ha is also the proud owner of two commercial buildings, having recently sold one earlier in the year; interestingly, all three buildings houses Starbucks as a tenant. His first Starbucks building in Gangseo-gu, Seoul was purchased for US$6.5 million, with the three-storey building occupied entirely by Starbucks, which has a long-term lease until 2031. The deposit is reportedly US$357,000 with a monthly transaction fee of US$21,000, making his annual yield 4.16 per cent.

Ha’s second building purchase is a four-storey building in Sokcho, Gangwan-do, that was bought for US$2.1 million. The entire building is currently occupied by Starbucks. The third commercial building, located in western Seoul and also with Starbucks as a key tenant, has since been sold, with Ha gaining a US$3.8 million profit.  

6. Big Bang’s G-Dragon

The charismatic leader of Big Bang is one of the richest Korean celebrities with a keen real estate interest. The multi-hyphenate made headlines in 2013 for his US$27 million purchase of Galleria Fore, an exclusive apartment building with its interiors designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.

He also splashed US$8.8 million on a commercial building otherwise known as ‘The March Rabbit’ for its unique Alice in the Wonderland-inspired architecture, and spend US$7.3 million for the luxury penthouse apartment in Nine One Hannam.

Besides buildings, G-Dragon also has a pension hotel under his name. Built as a gift to his family, fans can stay at this hotel which is helmed by his parents. The singer also owns a cafe in Jeju Island that's designed by Korean studio Platform_a; a staff member had previously revealed that the cafe rakes in an average of US$13,900 a day. 

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7. Big Bang’s Taeyang

The Big Bang members are known to be serious investors in real estate; aside from G-Dragon, Taeyang also has an interest in the real estate market in South Korea. In 2016, he purchased a seven-storey building located in Hannam for approximately US$6.9 million. The monthly lease is said to bring in an estimated sum of US$26,800. 

In 2014, he also purchased a 2,490 sqft villa located in the ​upscale apartment complex, UN Village, for US$3.75 million. He has since sold the abode in order to purchase a new residence in the lavish Janghak Paarc Hannam complex, for which he reportedly paid US$13.2 million. The apartment is a joint purchase with his wife Min Hyo Rin, where Taeyang will receive 94 per cent of the shares and Min receive six—an agreement reportedly made a month after their wedding.

8. Girls’ Generation Yuri

In October 2020, Yuri of Girls’ Generation purchased a five-storey building in Nonhyun-dong, Gangnam that’s worth US$11 million. The popular girl group member is said to have invested an estimated US$2 million of her own in cash, whilst taking out a US$9 million loan from the bank.

Constructed in 2003 and remodelled in 2017, the apartment building is located in a prime spot in the Gangnam area. The building spans five floors and includes a basement level. This is Yuri’s second lavish residential purchase—in 2012, she bought a luxury villa in the Cheongdam-dong area, an upmarket shopping area in Gangnam district, for around US$1.3 million.

9. Son Ye-Jin

The Crash Landing on You star currently owns a six-storey US$14.4 million commercial building in Gangnam, which houses beauty-related enterprises such as plastic surgery clinics and make-up stores. The actress reportedly paid for the building with US$4 million in cash and the rest through a bank loan. While the building was constructed in 1998 and has not been renovated since, it is well-maintained and situated in a prime district. The rent is estimated to be around US$38,000 a month, with a deposit fee of US$421,990.

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10. Knowing Brothers’ Seo Jang Hoon

The Knowing Brothers cast member and former South Korean basketball star is often teased on the variety show for his real estate worth. His property portfolio is said to be worth approximately US$27.2 million; Seo has often been acknowledged for his foresight in selecting buildings that grow extensively in value. For example, his five-storey building in Gangnam that he purchased in 2000 for US$1.8 million is now valued at over US$18 million.

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