In China, foreigners can rent or even purchase housing as the Chinese citizens. Following are the types of housing available in China:
1. Standard apartment
Standard apartment is the most common accommodation in China. They differ dramatically in price, quality, size, furniture, decoration and even surrounding environment.
Since buying an apartment will be costly and unnecessary for most of the foreigners, they choose to rent from the owners or the apartment’s management companies. Sometimes you may have to deal with housing agency as well in order to find out the suitable apartment, though you have to pay extra service fees for this.
Usually, rental price is fairly high in well-developed big cities, for example, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Normally the less developed the city is, the less expensive is rental of accommodation.
Of course the most important thing is the quality of accommodation. You should notice that there are a wide range of apartments in China. The quality mostly depends on the price.
Low quality apartments may mean that extremely small and old room, no bathtub or shower curtain, a squat hole in the bathroom instead of a toilet, no air-conditioner and heating system (If you live in a southern city, it is normal to have no heating though). You should also consider other parts like broadband, location (whether near your working/studying place and shopping sites) and community (bad community means loud noise and unfriendly neighbors). It is better for you to check out the real apartment other than merely looking at the provided information.
I will recommend finding accommodation within big gated community. The kind of accommodation always comes with better surrounding environment, management service and security. A bigger community may have sports center, swimming pool, huge playground and beauty salon etc for their residence.
Since public transportation is very cheap in China, many people in China may opt to live somewhere far away from their working place to avoid high rent. However, you may spend a lot more time on the go. In addition, some rural places lack shopping sites and convenience services, causing inconvenience to daily life.
2. Villa and townhouse
Villas and townhouses (similar to house in western countries) are the most luxurious accommodation in China. The price is fairly high but it is very close to the western housing. Some foreigners share it with others to make it affordable. It is advisable that you should check out the availability of furniture and equipment because some do not provide the ones you need and installation will be a hassle for you.
Nowadays some five-star hotels provide serviced-apartment for short-term expatriates. The best thing about this type of accommodation is that the staffs speak English and you have no trouble communicating with them. Besides, the service is satisfactory and instant and the apartment is fully equipped for foreigners. As a result, usually there are a considerable amount of foreigners living there as well. Although it is unlikely that the rental is very high compared with standard apartments.
Sometimes your company will offer you free accommodation. In this case, it is a better option for you to live there because the accommodation for foreigners is normally of great quality and comfort and near your working location.
For all foreigners residing in China on any kind of visa it is compulsory register your temporary residence with your local police station within 48 h
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