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Shenzhen is one of China’s youngest and most dynamic cities. Once a small fishing village, the city has grown into one of the country’s key business and financial centres as well as the world’s electronics hub. The city’s fast development attracts plenty of opportunity-seekers from other cities in China and abroad, and while there is no shortage of accommodation options in the Shenzen, housing prices are growing fast.

If you want to live in Shenzhen, the process of looking for a place will not be difficult. There are plenty of real estate agencies in the city with English-speaking staff as well as international agencies who can help you find the perfect place.

Shenzen's neighbourhoods

Shenzhen is divided into six districts: Futian, Luohu, Nanshan, Yantian, Baoan and Longgang, and four more management areas: Pingshan, Longhua, Guangming and Dapeng.

Shenzhen is stretched along the coast, and the distance between the districts is quite large. Despite the fact that the city has one of the most advanced metro systems in China, commuting to work is an important consideration. A subway trip from Nanshan on one end and Luohu on the other can take you over an hour so choose the district carefully.

Futian, Luohu and Nanshan are the city’s main central districts and the epicentres of all commercial, financial and residential activity.

Futian is the city’s central business district, home to some of the most influential companies, office buildings, shopping malls, entertainment areas and more. It’s especially popular with young expats who don’t want to miss out on the action and have the city’s best nightclubs and shopping areas within a short cab ride.

Luohu is the oldest and busiest city district. It’s home to some of Shenzhen’s biggest shopping malls as well as the famous SEG Electronics Market. There are some modern residential complexes in Luohu, but most of the buildings cater more to residents. Expats who live in Luohu typically choose the district because of its proximity to SEG Electronics market and other wholesale shopping areas.

Nanshan is primarily a residential district. It’s much quieter and greener than Luohu and Futian, and a popular residence option for both locals and foreigners. Nanshan is also home to a mini sub-district Shekou, also known as the “expat village”. Located at the edge of Nanshan, it’s a coastal area with a number of modern high-rises, a famous international entertainment hub, foreign shops and restaurants and Shekou port connecting the city with Hong Kong and Macau.

Baoan is a new up-and-coming district. Though located a bit far from central areas, it’s being actively built-up. Yantian is situated beyond Luohu and is a busy industrial area but also houses Shenzhen’s biggest beach, Dameisha. A number of expats choose to settle here for being close to the beach all year round.

Types of accommodation

There is an abundance of housing options in Shenzhen. From luxury penthouses and villas to serviced apartments and studios, you are sure to have a lot of choices. As Shenzhen is a very young city, most of the buildings are relatively new. What’s more, due to the constantly increasing urban population, more and more residential complexes are being built in the city as well. With apartment prices in central districts being rather high, studios and serviced apartments are becoming popular among locals and expats.

Your choice, of course, will depend on your family situation, the length of your stay and budget considerations.

Rent prices in Shenzen

Rent in Shenzhen is notoriously high. A recent survey earmarked Shenzhen and Shanghai as two of the five fastest growing property markets worldwide. Be it due to the city’s proximity to Hong Kong or rapid economic development, but one of China’s youngest cities is also one of its most expensive.

A studio in one of the popular areas (like Shekou or Futian) can start at over 4,000 yuan with utilities and management fees all paid separately. If you want to splurge on a two-bedroom sea-view apartment in one of the expat-favoured residential high-rises, expect to pay over 9,000 yuan. Large places or penthouses can cost you 20,000 yuan a month and more.

Naturally, the further you venture away from expat areas, central districts and metro lines, the higher your chances are for finding less expensive places. The new up-and-coming district of Baoan offers affordable housing with studios going for as low as 2,800 yuan.

Finding accommodation in Shenzen

Looking for accommodation in the city is easy. You will have plenty of English-speaking services and websites at your disposal and an expat community to ask for advice. Alternatively, you can browse residential complexes in your preferred area and consult real estate agencies nearby.

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