As one of China’s megacities and a hub for multinational companies, Shenzhen has a high demand for housing. Shenzhen therefore frequently ranks among the most expensive cities not only in China but in the world. The city's cost of living and rent prices, though lower than those of cities such as Hong Kong and New York, could prove higher than in London and Dubai.
Accommodation in Shenzhen will likely take up a significant percentage of an expat's budget. It’s best to look into a range of options when renting in Shenzhen.
Types of accommodation in Shenzhen
Shenzhen is one of China’s wealthiest cities and, as such, a great number of luxury accommodation options are available.
Expats arriving in Shenzhen will find that most accommodation comes in the form of apartments, including regular and serviced apartments, and compounds.
Regular apartments are usually partially furnished and come with basic amenities such as televisions, kitchen appliances and washing machines.
Expat families may prefer a home in a gated apartment complex. Apartment compounds offer shared facilities, including gardens and swimming pools – great for families with kids.
Serviced apartments offer a whole spectrum of amenities and facilities, much like a hotel, and come at a premium. Expats staying in Shenzhen for a short period may afford to stay in one of these fully furnished flats. Tenants will be able to enjoy a lavish lifestyle, potentially with access to a gym and swimming pool, housekeeping services and on-site restaurants.
Flatshares are a popular way of renting an apartment in Shenzhen. Given the high cost of accommodation, it is not uncommon for young or single expats in Shenzhen to seek out roommates. Having roommates divides up rental expenses and makes Shenzhen's popular areas and suburbs more accessible.
Finding accommodation in Shenzhen
Some companies may include furnished accommodation in an expat contract for employees who are working in China.
Individuals who do not have this benefit are advised to use a local real-estate agent who specialises in expat rentals. Fees can be up to one month’s rent. However, estate agents are an expat's best bet at successfully navigating the language and cultural barriers that may hamper their apartment search in Shenzhen.
Online property portals also make for a useful starting point. Online advertisements looking for roommates in Shenzhen are another common way for expats to find a home and establish connections in the city.
Renting accommodation in Shenzhen
Renting accommodation in Shenzhen can be a complicated process full of hidden costs and lengthy processes. We recommend reading through lease agreements and asking landlords and estate agents about any and all pressing questions before signing.
Expats doing business in China frequently come and go, so there is a demand for transient and short-term accommodation. Expats can rent property short term on a weekly or monthly basis.
Outside of short-term accommodation, the lease length is usually 12 months, though this is often negotiable.
To secure a property, prospective tenants will likely be required to make a deposit of at least one month's rent. Tenants may need to pay at least one or two months' rent up front.
Expats should be aware that most monthly rental prices do not include utilities such as water and electricity or property management fees.
Modern apartment complexes with amenities such as gyms and swimming pools are likely to come with additional monthly maintenance fees which could add significantly to the advertised rental costs.