A growing number of young workers and university students are visiting realtors at the weekend despite having no immediate plans to move nor enough cash to invest in real estate. Instead they are scouting future locations for homes and building relationships with real estate agents.
There is an abundance of real estate information online in addition to scores of smartphone apps, but these young people do not trust them and want more detailed information from offline sources.
A survey by the Korea Consumer Agency of 1,200 users of real estate information apps shows that 34 percent were lured by fake property listings.
One 24-year-old office worker was looking for a small flat after graduating from university. He used smartphone apps to look for potential locations but discovered that many of them were not what they promised.
"Although the usage fee was cheap, I could not find the home I was looking for," he said. Instead he went to a flesh-and-blood realtor. He now makes it a habit of visiting the agent regularly for chats. "I think it helps me to get to know my agent before I have to find a new place to live."
Experts say people are getting interested in the real estate market at a younger age than they used to.
Koh Kang-sup at the Young Professionals Institute of Korea said, "A growing number of young people are getting interested in financial investment, and the first thing people encounter after entering the workforce is looking for a place to live, so their interest seems to be shifting from stocks and cryptocurrencies to real estate."