Property prices in China

Hello everyone,

Finding affordable housing in China is number one priority for newcomers. Tell us more about the estate market in your district/city/region.

What are the most desired places to live? What are the most affordable ones? What is the average cost of a rented flat? And what is the average sale price for an appartment or a house? Could you tell us more about local real estate policies/procedures? What about property tax or residency tax in China?

What about you? Where do you live now? Is it a place you would recommend?

Thank you in advance for your clarifications.


I am NOT a "newcomer" but have been here in China competing within their system for nearly 20 years. At first employers would house me, but that soon ended when the paychecks got bigger. Later I settled for suitable housing in Shanghai and Beijing and Zhuhai never paying over 2500rmb a month. Eventually I got married and moved to Shenzhen about 10 years ago. The bubble hadn't grown and the local government wasn't into its endless schemes yet, so we emptied our bank account and bought a place devoting 3 years of heavy payments in order to pay it off. (Now it is worth 5 times as much and buying a second home will cost you an arm and a leg. In Chengdu they are already starting to charge a property tax for those buying to rent out). The best thing to remember is that housing is a scam in China as their manufacturing base is diminishing, so beware.

Hello, i am a native of Chengdu.
for your first question, if you want to have more clean air, i suggest you live outside the 3rd ring road, but if you want have more convenient facilities, you'd better live in central city. But i think the most important thing is that your apartment should near your office.
for the rental, it depends on the location, for example, if you want an apartment near metro station or in the central city but with cheap price, that would be very difficult. it is the same to buy an apartment.
You can follow this official wechat account to have more information about it.
if you want to know more information about the real estate, ***
Hope this can help.

Moderated by Priscilla last year
Reason : Do not post your personal contact details on a public forum for your own security

I have lived in China for about 10 years.  At first I lived in a very small city in the south in Guangdong Province about 4 hours south of Guangzhou.  Housing at that time (2007) was cheap in so many ways!  Today housing isn't cheap but you can find some good deals.

My advice in general, don't buy!  Unless you plan to live in China for a very long time buying isn't a good idea.  If you are a foreigner, it can be a total loss.  You really need to understand the housing rules and each province it seems has different rules. 

Here is what I know to be the general rule, you only own whatever you buy for 50 years.  At the end of that term it goes back to the government.  Since no one has tested this rule out yet, no one knows exactly how it will work.  Here's what I mean, no one is sure if the 50 years means that the government will buy it from you, or give you credit to buy a new place???  No one knows.  No one could tell me for sure if the 50 years was based on the time you bought your place or on the age of the place.  Some have told me that the government plan is to tear down all construction that is older than 50 years, so if you buy an old place you may not be able to keep it for very long.  There are just too many unknowns to make buying a place in China a good deal especially for a foreigner.

Now renting is another issue.  I now live in the north in Jilin Province in Changchun.  It's a 3rd tier city but fast becoming a 2nd tier.  This means more people and traffic.  I live in the center of the city in an area that is preferred by the expat community.  We like this area because it's very convenient for shopping and getting around.  The rents here tend to be a little higher and the buildings are older but the trade off is worth it.

I have lived in my current apartment for 5 years and in the building complex for 6 years.  It is old but sturdy which is something I can't say for some of the newer construction.  There are issues but after so many years in China you learn to live with issues.  For example this past summer the sewer pipe backed up and I lived for several months with raw sewage seeping from it (outside the building) until the issue of who would fix it got resolved.  The city refused to fix it because the pipe was located behind the building and not technically part of the city pipes, the building owners refused because the building is old and they hope the city will tear it down soon, finally the individual renters paid for it.  This is just one example of how things work here.  A few years ago we had a similar issue with the wiring in the building which mean power failures for months until jurisdiction was settled on who was responsible! 

Changchun isn't an expensive city so rents are reasonable overall.  Salaries for foreign teachers tend to be lower than in 1st tier or 2nd tier cities but then living is cheaper so it's balanced.  The average foreign English teacher can expect to make between 7500 and 10,000 RMB per month.  Rents are between 1500 to 3000 per month.  Some schools will pay the rent as part of the salary package.  Our school will give a small stipend to off set rent.  You must sign a contract with a landlord for one year.  Some will accept 6 months but they tend to charge you more.  They expect to be paid either one year of rent up front or at least 6 months.  You can't find month to month rentals here.  If you want a short term rental good luck.

The typical lease will ask for a deposit and then one year of rent.  Most landlords are pretty "absent" when it comes to fixing things.  The best time to get anything fixed is upfront at the time you sign or just before you sign.  Older buildings tend to be less rent but can be more problems.  Don't expect to find western standards, it's common to have shoddy wiring or leaking pipes.  The best advice is to know what to look for before you rent.  If you are unsure ask a local person you trust to help you. 

Here is a good rule I tell all my new teachers, turn it ON.  Here is what I mean, when looking for a place turn on all faucets and check for leaks, flush all toilets and make sure they work, turn on all lights, and take something to plug into all outlets.  Anything that doesn't work, note it and have it fixed before you move in, make that part of the lease agreement.  If the landlord won't do it, that tells you a lot about them and my advice look elsewhere.  Look for exposed wires, potential fire hazards.  Is the general building kept clean?  Are the stairwells lit and safe?  Does the neighborhood look kept up?  Are there any bars around you, night clubs or other businesses that could be noisy (like barking dogs).  Ask about getting the deposit back at the end of the lease before you sign.  Make sure there won't be hidden fees the landlord takes out from that deposit.  Make a full inventory of everything that belongs to the landlord and include that with the lease, have both parties sign it.  That way when you move there's no disagreement on who owns what. 

Lastly, ALWAYS change the locks before you move in.  You have no idea who may have keys to your place.  You don't need to give the landlord a key, but you should give a key to someone you trust just in case you lock yourself out.  Before you sign the lease make sure the landlord will go to the police station with you to register.  This is very important because ALL foreigners must register each time they move with the local police, or when their visa renews.  Breaking leases is very hard, so be very sure before you sign that this is somewhere you really want to live.

That's my check list of things you should know before you lease, and why it's probably not a good idea to buy anything in China if you are not a local.  Hope it helps.  LRai

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