Shanghai has a full range of housing, from local-style apartments to mansion-sized luxurious villa communities.
Most expats live in one of these five housing types :
One of the most noticeable aspects of Shanghai’s booming economy is the surge in new apartment construction. Chinese people based overseas, locals and long-term expats have bought them up, subsequently letting them to foreigners with housing allowances. These apartments tend to be located in spacious high rises and look and feel new. They are normally sold ‘raw’ to the buyer, who then designs and adds fixtures according to taste and target renter. Therefore, if you like a particular development or area, view different units within the same building. Some developments offer their own housekeeping and concierge service, and possibly fitness facilities.
Family Friendly Villas
Far from Shanghai’s city centre, villas are normally grouped together in luxury living complexes that appear to be replicas of compound housing in the US or Europe. Fully furnished and equipped with a community centre, supermarket, children’s facilities, a health club and restaurant, villa compounds are virtually self-sufficient entities. They are normally located in family-orientated locations near large parks and international schools.
Duplexes & Townhouses in Shanghai
New and located in housing compounds, duplexes are two- or three-level apartments equipped with modern facilities. Some duplexes will occupy the first to third or fourth to sixth floors of a six-floor building. They usually total around 200 to 300 square metres.
Old Houses / Garden Houses
Both foreigners and wealthy Chinese built scores of elegant homes during Shanghai’s heyday in the early part of the twentieth century. These charming standalone houses have terraces and adjacent green space – a real rarity in Shanghai. These features, coupled with locations in the prestigious former British and French Concessions, make these homes highly sought after by foreigners. Rents reflect this demand, pushing upwards of 50,000RMB per month.
Traditional Shanghai Lane Houses
In old Shanghai, local communities were built in a series of alleyways off major streets. These charming houses stand two-to-three storeys high and form long rows. From the outside, they look like townhouses or brownstones, but the interiors vary. Some contain several families, whilst others host one family and a terrace. Closely packed neighbourhoods and thin walls make lane houses noisy at times. On the other hand, it’s a great way to observe Shanghai life and interact with your neighbours. Rents start at about 20,000RMB for a 100 square metre home.