One of the most common questions we are asked is “how much is an apartment in SH?”.

This is like asking, how long is a piece of string. The price is going to vary depending on the location, surrounding amenities, size of the apartment, number of rooms, shared space, etc. Furthermore, if an apartment is sourced from an English language website, the rental is likely to be significantly higher than a Chinese language one, as those sites are geared towards foreigners, who are viewed as earning more than Chinese.

Shanghai is a very large city with 15 districts and dozens more subdistricts each, therefore location of an apartment is the most influential factor. A city centre, or “downtown” apartment is always more costly by area than the further outlying regions. For Shanghai, the French Concession, which is located inside the XuHui and JingAn districts, is the region that more recently arrived foreigners like to be situated, as there are many bars, clubs and western related shops. As such, this location is premium rent and so often, several foreigners may share a multi bedroomed apartment. Surrounding districts such as HuangPu and parts of HongKou, PuTuo, ChangNing, or the financial sector around LuJiaZui may be similarly priced. However, the rule of thumb still applies generally; the further an apartment is from the centre, the cheaper it should be.

As an example, my apartment is in Pudong district, but not too far from the city centre. I can reach the main locations there within half an hour by subway. Yet I rarely travel to the centre, as everything I need is within a 10 to 15 minutes bicycle ride. There are shops, and a mall, even closer than that if needed. For this, I pay 8000rmb a month on a two bedroomed, own kitchen and bathroom, 90 square metre flat with a great balcony view. However, this is considered a little below market value these days. My landlord would prefer to have a reliable regular tenant than constantly changing his tenant according to market price increases. There are slightly cheaper surrounding apartments, but there are certainly more expensive ones too.

The important point is to have someone with a little local knowledge help you out, usually a friend. Fortunately for those who may not know anyone in SH on their arrival, Panda have staff who can find good value apartments in whichever location a teacher may want to be based. It all depends on an individual’s budget as to the location and type of accommodation anyone may want.

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