The sense of constriction has become more palpable for Kim Min-hyung, a 30-something office worker in Seoul, as his belongings have piled up in his studio apartment over time.
While buying a closet might be a straightforward and conventional solution, it carries the risk of further reducing his already confined living space. So Kim is contemplating using a self-storage service.
"While renting a storage unit may appear unnecessary, I believe it's a sensible option considering Seoul's inflated housing costs," Kim said.
Single urban dwellers like Kim are driving the rise of personal storage rental services in South Korea today, reflecting a shift in perspectives and lifestyle choices away from the traditional priority placed on house upgrades.
According to Jones Lang LaSalle, a real estate and investment management firm, the number of self-storage facilities jumped about 54 percent on-year in 2022, totaling around 300 nationwide.
Seoul accounts for approximately 53 percent of the total, with 30.4 percent and 7.8 percent located in Gyeonggi Province and the Greater Busan area, respectively.
Lobo Jeong, an official at Darak -- the largest storage operator in Korea with the most number of storage facilities under management -- said the local market has been doubling in size annually over the past three years.