Searching and finding a new home in Shanghai can seem like a daunting endeavor for expats: the language barrier, a cultural gap, a seemingly opaque residential leasing market, and lots of myths around the housing market in China might be between you and your new home. HAO Realty has put together the perfect package to make finding your new Shanghai apartment or villa a smooth, trouble-, and stress-free experience. Our broad property network and deep market knowledge, combined with reliable and skillful team members have earned us the trust of many multi-national enterprises and individual expats in Shanghai. Contact us to make the first step towards renting your dream home in Shanghai.
Massive Property Database
Not only do we have our own database which has been maintained for over 5 years already, but we are also subscribed to three other up-to-date resources to ensure the largest property database possible for our clients.
Most Experienced Consultants
HAO Realty consultants have almost double the industry average level of experience and are highly-trained and skilled in handling customers’ needs. You will be in safe hands and your satisfaction is guaranteed.
24/7 Maintenance and Follow up
Our service does not stop when you found your home. Our 24/7 on-call service takes over and helps with all your questions and maintenance issues. We make sure you enjoy a high standard of living and no stress.
Shanghai (上海 – meaning “on the sea”) is China’s largest city by population and the biggest city proper in the world, with around 25 million reisidents, of which 18 million are living in Shanghai’s central districts.
The city is divided in two parts by Huangpu River. Puxi (浦西 – “west (xi) of the Huangpu“) is the historical part of the city, and the newly-developed Pudong (浦东 – east (dong) of the Huangpu“) side is home to several business and financial districts. Residents consider Puxi to have more of ‘character’. Popular areas in Puxi are the Former French Concession, People’s Square and Jing’an. Pudong is modern and recently-developed. It feels more sterile and business-oriented, with areas such as Lujiazui, the main financial district, or Zhangjiang High-Tech Park, China’s Silicone Valley.
Shanghai’s world-famous skyline is dominated by the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Shanghai World Financial Centre (aka ‘SWFC’ or ‘the bottle opener’, the Jinmao Tower, and the stunning Shanghai Tower, Shanghai’s tallest building, measuring in 632 meters.
Finding a Shanghai apartment for rent can be tough if you are on your own. Chinese culture has a strong emphasis on owning a house as condition for a marriage. The rental market is therefore only a relatively small segment of the Shanghai real estate industry. As Shanghai is a migrant city, attracting Chinese and foreign talents alike, demand for good rental apartments is nevertheless high and attractive properties with a fair price tag rent out very fast, sometimes even within a day. It is therefore important to work with a good agency or agent who is always up-to-date on recent and soon-to-be available properties.
To successfully find an apartment that you will enjoy for the whole duration of your stay in Shanghai, identifying your needs & requirements is necessary. Depending on your family situation, work or study place, interests, and available housing budget, different property types and locations are preferable.
The districts Huangpu, Jing’an, Xuhui, and Changning are the commercial and cultural center of Shanghai. Residential hotspots within this area are the former French Concession, Xintiandi, People’s Square, Jing’an Temple, Xujiahui, and Gubei. While these areas are very suitable for both singles and families with children, exorbitant per-sqm prices make it sometimes difficult to find family-sized apartments within the housing budget. Singles and couples can normally get away with paying between 7,000 and 20,000 RMB per month, while 15,000 RMB are the very start of the spectrum for a 3-bedroom apartment.
Expat families with children attending an international high-school in Shanghai most times opt for suburban areas, such as Hongqiao, Huacao, and Xujing in Puxi, or Green City and Kangqiao in Pudong. Several world-class international schools can be found in these areas, which has resulted in established expat communities and businesses catering to expat needs. A typical villa in these expat neighborhoods costs between 30,000 and 45,000 RMB/month, with Green City being home to luxury villas typically priced between 40,000 and 65,000 RMB/month.
If you wish to learn more about the price differences in Shanghai’s various areas, you can find our Shanghai rent index 2018/19 here.
For information about expat-popular neighborhoods, click here.
Shanghai Housing Types
Shanghai, as a city where past and future meet in the present, features a good diversity of housing types. Generally you can find the following housing types:
Modern apartments / condos: Since the end of the 1990s most new construction comprises of clusters of high-rise apartment buildings, which can be found throughout the city, from downtown to the edge of Shanghai. So called compounds come with gated access, 24/7 security, property management staff, and often community gardens, onsite gym, swimming pool, and playground.
Lane Houses: Lane Houses are a distinct housing form of Shanghai, similar to hutongs in Beijing. Lane Houses are terraced houses built in the 1920s and 30s during the time of foreign concessions. While they offer a lot of charm and character, they can bring unpleasant surprises that expats will want to avoid: dampness and mold especially on the ground floor, narrow pipes that can freeze during winter, insufficient heat and sound insulation, or shared kitchens (and therefore various smells) in the common areas of the house. Lane houses offered by HAO Realty have usually been modernized and make for good homes.
Old apartment buildings: Art Deco architecture was very popular during the booming 1920s and resulted in some of Shanghai’s nicest and sought-after apartment buildings today. Especially along Middle Huaihai Road you will see architectural highlights. Apartments in these buildings are highly sought-after, as they combine old world charm with lasting quality.
Mid-rise (5-7 storeys) concrete run-up buildings: These buildings from the 1970s and 80s have preserved the charm of communist China in Shanghai. They lack elevators and are often not very appealing from the outside. However, they will remind you to not teach a book by its cover, as some of the nicest apartments we have seen are hidden gems inside these blocks.
Service apartments: these apartments are hotel-like homes, ideal for persons and families who seek convenience. Services such as concierge, housekeeping, laundry, free/priced-in utility consumption, free clubhouse access, onsite restaurants, etc. make these perfect for expats who prefer to relax when coming home from work.
Villas: Beside very few historical villas, free-standing single-family houses are not to be found in Downtown, but only in the suburbs of Shanghai. As independent construction is uncommon in most of Shanghai, these villas are located in compounds. Most times units within the same compound look very similar and are only different in size and furnishing.