houses in Suzhou
Updated 7 months ago

Suzhou is located in China's Jiangsu province and is home to over six million people. The city is often called the Venice of the East because of the many canals piercing the city. Despite that fact that it's not a first-tier city, Suzhou is quite popular with expats thanks to its close proximity to Shanghai (under 30 minutes on a high-speed train).

If you are planning to visit Suzhou or settle in the city, finding a suitable place to live should be relatively easy. There are plenty of modern accommodation options, both in the city's central areas and on the outskirts.


Suzhou's division is rather peculiar. The city consists of five main districts (Canglang, Jinchang, Pingjiang, Wuzhong, and Xiangcheng); five cities (Changshu, Kunshan, Taicang, Wujiang, and Zhangjiagang City); and two special industrial zones (Suzhou Industrial Park and Suzhou High & New Technology Development Zone).

The city's districts are primarily older urban zones where most of the city life is concentrated. Suzhou's cities are considered as suburbs and are located further from central areas. The industrial zones, on the other hand, are regarded as new investment areas and are home to a large number of enterprises, factories and office buildings.

Downtown Suzhou comprises Canglang, Pingjiang and part of Jinchang district and is pierced by nine east-west canals and 12 north-south canals. Here, you will find a high concentration of landmarks, offices as well as residential buildings. Most expats living in the city would settle in Suzhou's central areas ' but exploring suburban locations can be helpful in finding quieter areas and cheaper accommodation options.

Types of accommodation

Even though the city is lined with canals, the types of accommodation on offer does not differ from that of any major city. You will be able to choose between studios, apartments, student residences, townhouses, etc. Most apartments available for rent are fully-furnished and come with all the necessary facilities. With that, you will probably find more Chinese-style apartments in Suzhou compared to first-tier cities: this means wooden furniture, smaller rooms and kitchens and squat toilets.

Rent prices

Rent prices in Suzhou are not particularly low. The city's close location to Shanghai enables a large number of its residents to live in Suzhou and work in the nearby metropolis with the highest cost of living in Asia. Living in Suzhou is definitely significantly less expensive than in China's first-tier cities ' but the number of commuting workers have made the rent go up in recent years. Thus, renting a one-bedroom place in a non-central area would start at around 3,000 yuan and settling in central areas would be even pricier ' starting at over 5,000 yuan; a larger apartment in the city centre can cost upwards of 7,000 yuan

Finding an apartment

The easiest way to find a suitable apartment in the city is through a real estate agency. You will simply need to outline your requirements, and a professional agent will handle the rest. The convenience, however, comes at a price ' you will need to pay half of a month's rent in agent fees. There are plenty of apartment hunting resources online, and you also have the option of networking with other expats on the city to get information on housing leads or apartment sharing arrangements.

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