Over 70 percent of those who own lavish penthouses at Signiel Seoul – an upscale residence located throughout the 42nd to 71st floors of Korea’s tallest building, Lotte World Tower – were revealed to be corporations, according to a news report by the Herald Business on Monday.
The Signiel Seoul, which was completed in April of 2017, has a total of 223 housing units, including seven penthouses and 11 duplex-type sub-penthouses. Based on real estate registrations, the Herald Business, a sister newspaper of The Korea Herald, confirmed that 13 of the 18 penthouses were registered under corporate names, while five others were owned by individuals.
The daily said the ratio of individual ownership is relatively low due to the high house prices coupled with equally overwhelming management costs and taxes.
All but one of the 11 duplex-type residences were sold in 2021, with prices ranging from 6.6 billion won ($5 million) to 10.7 billion won. Those sold earlier in 2019 went for 7.7 billion won.
Seven of those 11 properties were owned by corporations, but the collateral security for most of them is valued at over 80 percent of their housing prices, Herald Business explained. The remaining four were owned by individuals, whose ages range from their 30s to 60s. Some of these individuals were found to be of foreign nationalities, including Taiwan and Antigua and Barbuda.
Notably, it is widely known that many wealthy people who want to avoid being taxed flock to Antigua and Barbuda, where citizenship is relatively easy to obtain through donations to the National Development Fund and investments in real estate.
On the other hand, among the seven penthouses located throughout the 68th to 71st floors, one of the largest two is owned by Kim Jae-young, CEO of video game developer Lionheart Studio. Kim made headlines in 2021 when he purchased the 33.4 billion-won property, fully paid in cash.
The other largest one was still owned by Lotte Property and Development, the operator of Lotte World Tower, but some analysts say it is holding off on selling due to the company’s executives living there.
The Signiel residence has consistently been a topic of public interest, mainly due to news of celebrities, political figures and business executives living there. More than half of the properties had been vacant for the first three to four years of its completion, but all units sold out by early 2022.