Types of houses in Shanghai


New apartment mansion

They are everywhere in the city with a wider range of prices for different qualities, e.g. to rent a new well decorated apartment with two bedrooms, two living rooms, a kitchen and two bathrooms in Jing'an may cost you 6,000 yuan (US$750) to 8,000 yuan a month. But the rent price for a set of similar apartment in Xingzhuang or other suburb areas may cost 3,000 yuan or 4,000 yuan a month.

Old apartment

Most of the old apartments are built before 1949. Designed by western architects, they are differed from local stone gate houses and traditional Chinese houses, but have a closer relationship and strain with their foreign peers in Europe and America. They were well-equipped with all modern facilities of the time. However, they now become historic architectures with a charming flavor of old times.

Similar as the old villas, some well furnished old apartments are pricy. The purchasing price for each square meters will be no less than US$2,500. If you rent a two-bedroom suite in Xuhui along Huaihai Road, it will cost you at least US$1,000 a month.

But when you wake up at morning, you can go downstairs and have your brunch at a caféat the street corner or go directly to your office with a walk distance, you may find it is worthy.

Old garden villa

Most villas in downtown areas are built before 1949, with nice appearances outside, facilities in them may be old, but still a lot of them are renovated with modern facilities by their owners for rent or sell.

The prices for sale are very high; some may even more than US$1 or 2 million. That's the reason why most of the expatriates choose to rent. The price for renting an old villa in the area will cost you from 10,000 yuan (US$1,250) to 100,000 yuan a month which depends on the area and facilities.

If their owners protected them well, inside the old villa, you may see polished brown floor board and well decorated fireplace, even the chimneys and pipes are also working. Some may be equipped with old furniture which may arouse people's memories to earlier times of last century.

With a small garden in the front or at the behind, you may enjoy tea in a sun-shine afternoon or hold parties at weekend.


Old ones are concentrated in downtown areas. Some are changed beyond recognition, however still a lot of them are well protected by their owners. Some old house agencies will provide you the rent or even purchase services.

New ones are mainly built in suburbs, such as Guibei and Jinqiao, with fresh air and green sceneries around, which is suitable to those people who wish to live a quiet and peaceful life.

Independent lane house

They are hidden inside in downtown areas and separated from each other by lanes and high walls. With a small yard in the front and a door backside, it will provide you a large space as well as a well protected private life. The prices for rent or sale are less expensive than old villa, but they are still high.

Duplex house

Without a private owned fence around garden, they are lying in some residential areas in suburbs. Living in them, people may have more privacy then those live in townhouses.

Most of the trees and green spaces around are for public use, so, you may share and enjoy the happy outdoor life with your neighbors in sunny afternoons or weekends.

Service apartment

Run by several large hotel groups, service apartments are good choices for expatriates who plan to stay here for a short period of time, say several months. Well furnished, 24-hours butler service, which makes life easier and treats you like a king of the city. Most of the service apartments are concentrated in downtown and expatriate communities. Prices are high, with a range from US$1,000 a month to US$7,500 a month for different apartments with different spaces and services.

Privatized public apartment

Most of them have a similar appearance as their Russian or East European peers and were built after 1949. They can be found everywhere in the city, however rents differ from each other, depending on their locations.

In downtown, such as Xuhui and Jing'an, a set with one bedroom, one small bathroom, a kitchen as well as a small living room may cost a rent of 2,000 yuan a month, while in suburbs the same housing type only worth 1,000 yuan a month or less.