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Shenzhen apartment
Finding an apartment in Shenzhen is easy! If you are very rich... Shenzhen is one of the most expensive Chinese cities to live. This is largely because of the ridiculously high housing prices. People earn a few thousand RMB per month, but one square meter will already cost 20.000 RMB and often more. A further complication is that Shenzhen is very big. Traditionally many foreigners live in the Shekou area, an area of Nanshan district in the south-west of Shenzhen on a peninsula close to Hong Kong. Still today most foreigners live in Shekou and it's a nice area, but why limit yourself just to one area, when Shenzhen has much more to offer? This article will give you an overview of the city to help you find an apartment and also give some advice about what to pay attention to.
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Apartments for rent in Shenzhen
First of all you should know the most important districts of Shenzhen. It's a very big city with over 10 million people, so you can imagine there are lots of differences within the city.


From left (West) to right (East) we have:

  • Nanshan (with Shekou on the peninsula)
  • Futian
  • Luohu 

To the north of Nanshan is Bao'an district, but few foreigners want to live there because it's much less convenient. Take a look at my article about Shenzhen for a short summary about the three main districts. You can find more maps on the page dedicated to maps of Shenzhen.

Both Nanshan and Futian are good for living I think. Shekou is nice, but it's a bit further away from the main shopping malls and facilities such as library. It has more empty space which is good for cycling though and there are enough bars and restaurants for anyone :) Not so many live in Luohu, and those that do live there, mostly live close to the border with Hong Kong and Futian district I believe.


Renting costs

As I mentioned before, house prices in Shenzhen are high, but there are lots of different options from affordable to very expensive. You can rent a tiny 1 bedroom apartment of about 35m2 for about 2500 RMB/month in Futian or Nanshan district. I suggest that you go for at least 70m2 for a family of two though and that will probably cost you around 3500-4000 RMB/month. For larger apartments in normal Chinese communities you will have to think about 7000+ RMB/month.

Then there are the luxury apartments in various very good locations. Those often cost over 10.000 RMB/month and I have seen them go as high as 25.000 RMB/month, which i think is crazy, but if your employer pays for it, why not :) There are literally hundreds of small real-estate agents throughout the city.

Some English websites where you can look-up prices:

  • Dial-an-Angel housing  - nice photos of some very expensive property, mainly in Shekou. Recommended to give you an impression!
  • Shenzhen Rent - good English language website with some (mostly expensive) property 
  • Shenzhen Party - contains many commercial listings, but you can also use it to find shared apartments
  • Shenzhen Stuff - English social website with listings

Keep in mind that these are often targeting (rich) expats. You do get nice accommodation, but the price is often a bit higher than what you could find if you shop around by yourself and bargain a bit. To help you with that, here are some Chinese websites for Shenzhen:


Read more about living costs here .



Utility bills + management fees

For two persons living in a 70m2 apartment in Futian district:

  • gas: ~30 RMB/month
  • water: ~30 RMB/month
  • electricity: ~200 RMB/month
  • management fee: ~40 RMB/month (but much more in other communities and depends on size of the house, other houses likely over 300 RMB/month)
  • garbage fee: 13 RMB/month
  • television: 28 RMB/month (standard SD, no extra channels)

So you will probably pay at least 400 RMB, and likely around 800+ RMB per month in total costs.


House prices

For a long time the house prices have only gone one way: up! Since 2010 the government has taken various steps to try to control the rise of the house prices. I believe this is a good thing, because ordinary people cannot afford a house anymore. This makes it harder to predict whether or not you should buy a house currently though. The last couple of months the house prices have been stable, but the transaction volume has gone totally down. Almost nobody seems to buy houses now, everybody is waiting to see what happens next. Furthermore there are macro-changes in China related to the one-child policy. It was introduced around 1980 and it means that gradually the population growth is slowing and there will be less demand for houses. Some researchers believe the peak will happen within 20 years and after that there will be too many houses. Perhaps that will just mean the end of the one-child policy, but for now it means extra uncertainty. Take this into account before you rush to buy a house!

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Example of real estate advertisements you will find everywhere in Shenzhen
On the top is the name of the community (red letters).
Next in blue how many rooms (for example 3 bedrooms, 1 living room) + size (100m2)
In black it says some characteristic about the house ('good decoration' 'quiet' or 'good light')
and then finally the price for renting per month


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new_in_shenzen  - CFD job   |113.97.159.xxx |2011-03-23 21:54:34
hi there! im new in shenzen. May I know what's the salary range for a thermal engineer using CFD codes like ANSYS? Offered me 14K rmb with 4K housing but I dont know if its enough. Thanks!
Thijs   |219.133.62.xxx |2011-03-24 13:38:36
Hi, please see this article: ( http://www.startinchina.com/shenzhen/life/cost_of_living_in_shenzhen.html )

14K RMB + 4K housing is good for an Engineer with a couple of years experience. Also inform about medical insurance and tax benefits!
den  - too small     |113.88.227.xxx |2011-03-30 18:23:02
14K+4K is just barely enough for a foreigner in shenzhen, escpecially if he has family too. if you are able to eat chinese food most of the time, travel by bus and without spending on malls and bars, then is fine. but don't expect to save something. to give an idea, a meal at a western restaurant could cost 200 rmb, pizza hut 100-150 rmb mcdonalds ~30 each person.
Thijs   |219.133.62.xxx |2011-03-30 18:42:20
well, it's a Chinese salary (even on the high side of it), but obviously not an expat salary. So you indeed have to live in a Chinese way. If that is your whole family income, it will be even harder. But many Chinese manage on less, so it's possible.
Frankie  - looking for a nice, quite, convenient apt   |24.10.174.xxx |2011-04-07 12:52:42
Hi there! I am relocating to Shenzhen from USA and will travel between Shenzhen and HK. My office is in Futian, but I'd love to live in some community that is quite, safe, and convenient to public transportation. Some of my friends suggested me to live in Nanshan, but I heard it takes a long time to Futian. Since you live in Futian, would you say Futian is a very loud and crowded area? Is there some area in Luohu pretty nice and quite?
Thanks!
Thijs   |219.133.62.xxx |2011-04-07 14:29:11
Hi Frankie, you are right. Shenzhen has many good locations outside Nanshan and especially if you work in Futian I would consider living there. With the metro it's easy to travel between Nanshan and Futian, but it depends if you live&work close to metro stations. It's crowded everywhere in Shenzhen , but when you live in a good community it can also be quiet. I don't have experience with Luohu myself. I think you need to set a budget limit and then just take a couple of days to look around in the city. As stated above: it's very easy to spend 10K rmb/month on an apartment. It's very expensive! Many foreigners live near Coco Park in the Central Business District. Best to just look around with the help of a Chinese colleague from the office.

Traveling from Shenzhen to HK is quiet a hassle, because you need to cross the border two times (Chinese + HK border). Huanggang border (closest to my home in Futian) is about 10 minutes by taxi, but the connections to the public transport system in HK are less good I believe. Luohu custom has direct trains to downtown HK.

Subway in Shenzhen is a great way to travel. It's currently expanding a lot and several new sections recently opened or will open soon. Futian to Luohu border with subway is also convenient, though will take a while (I guess about half an hour subway).
Dan  - Walton Heights   |222.126.196.xxx |2011-05-08 22:54:13
Frankie,
We just rented a place in a building named Walton Suites, right over the Sheraton Four Points...about half a kilometer from the Futian checkpoint. Really easy commute to HK, and you can catch the Shenzhen metro there and it is two stops to the connection with Line 1 that runs the length of the city.

Not a lot of Western shopping in that area, but a five minute cab ride to Carrefour and Jesco, and three metro stops to Coco Park. Might be worth a look.

Cheers!
Dan

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Last Updated ( Monday, 06 December 2010 )
 
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