Known for its dense urban environments and high-rise residential developments, China might not seem like the ideal place to own your own property. However, a growing number of expatriates in China are opting to forego the typical rental property agreement and instead purchase a home or apartment in one of China’s rapidly growing cities.
China is home to hundreds of cities and tens of thousands of smaller towns, each of which has its own unique property market. From high-rise developments in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, to small housing developments in rural China, searching for property in China exposes people to a huge range of choices that reach from the lowest price ranges into the most expensive.
Whether you’re planning on renting or buying your own property in China, you’ll have very little difficulty finding a house, apartment, or condominium in your price range. China’s huge property market means that there’s a property available for everyone, whether they’re interested in buying or renting, short-term living or long-term stays, or city life or a relaxed, rural environment.
Let’s start with China’s cities – the center of urban and economic development in the country. With rapidly expanding economies and a growing middle class, many of China’s large cities are rich with opportunities to rent or own high-rise apartments. Shanghai, the country’s largest economic center, is a great example of China’s housing market as a whole, albeit with slightly higher prices.
Accommodation in China’s major cities can be divided into three major categories: houses, condos, and apartments. Houses are becoming increasingly rare in many dense Chinese cities due to rapidly increasing land values. As such, many houses – particularly those located in the central areas of the country’s largest cities – can cost several thousand dollars per month to rent on a long-term contract.
Likewise, these houses are exceedingly expensive to purchase. Expatriates and retirees are able to purchase one property in China if they have been studying or working in the country for one year, making it possible for foreign residents to invest in Chinese property. Despite this, the increasing prices for houses and other residential property have made many would-be buyers reconsider.
The second option, condominiums, are a more popular choice. In most Chinese cities, you’ll see a huge amount of construction cranes taking up space on the skyline. More often than not, these are cranes working on new residential developments. In the last decade alone, new condos have been transforming many neighborhoods in large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.
Condos are typically more affordable than houses on a per-square foot basis, although pricing for many luxury condos is fairly high. Due to the large amount of residential construction that’s going on, a large amount of condos are available for rent. As such, renting a condominium is an effective option for finding good accommodation in China.
Many foreign expatriates are opting to buy condominiums in China, particularly people that live in a major Chinese city yet travel internationally quite frequently. Due to the low maintenance costs of condominiums, they are a particularly popular option for expatriates that wish to avoid the costly and difficult maintenance requirements of a standalone house.
Finally, apartments – most of which are rented on month-by-month contracts – are easy to find in many Chinese cities. These apartments often use shared utilities such as electricity and access to the Internet, with pricing handled by the management team. Apartments in China are generally priced to appeal to expatriates and retirees with modest budgets, and often lack many creature comforts.
Whether you’re planning to retire to China for the low cost of living or the fantastic culture that it offers access to, having a form of accommodation ready is essential. From homes to condos, small apartments to luxurious penthouses, China’s many cities and small towns offer an extensive range of accommodation options for retirees, travelers, and expatriates.