Suspicious Equipment on Top of Roof

Let me share something interesting this morning. On top of our 18F residential building, I observed two suspicious equipments. They are suspicious because they tried too hard to look like a typical air-condition outlet. They are obviously not. Look at the front. The hole for the fan, and the grids are all drawn. On the side, they also tried so hard to look like an air-con.

There are two of this pointing to the south east direction.

There are long cables connected to the equipments – pretty thick cables, and when I trace the cables, they go all the way to the elevator’s room, and down to the first floor, and I don’t know where they go.

If you look from downside, you see this box in the bigger box.

Antena for Mobile

My guess is, it is an antena from either China mobile or China Unicom. Why does it tried to hide themselves?

The Conflict: Who Owns a Residential Area

The mobile operators have to install antena to ensure its coverage. With rising concerns about the radiation, many residents rejects the request to put an antena somewhere near them. However, there is no strong enough residential committee yet (or Homeowner’s Association), the rejection is mainly sentiment, not real action. To smooth the anger, many of the new antena hide themselves by trying to appear as something else.

If you really pay attention when walking around in residential areas, you may see many of them. Air-con is one of the most effective one. There are antena trying to mimic a street light pole, or as part of the building (with brick patterns at surface), or even bill boards. It is hard to discover, and the anger goes away. But the problem is, how about radiation, and how about the trust?

I believe I am the very few people in this building to be aware of the installation. Obviously it is not an informed and welcomed action.




Merry Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas!

There is not too much Christmas feeling this year. Does anyone feel the same? I just feel this Christmas in Shanghai is a pretty plain and simple holiday, unlike other Christmas.

Anyway, for all my friends who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas, especially to my friends outside Shanghai (hope you have better atmosphere there).

Group Rental Appeared in my Neighborhood

My neighbor knocked at our door this afternoon, and asked me to look at an apartment upstairs. They are transforming the apartment into a group rental suite.

What is Group Rental

It is like shared rooms – many people share the same apartment to lower the cost. But it is not exactly shared room. It is a very professional business. It transfers some good apartment into a new type of suite – separate the rooms into several independent rooms and rent it out separately. The biggest difference between group rental and shared room is, either the number of people living in the room (low end group rental), or the change of the house structure (high end group rental).

Low End Group Rental

The low end group rental is pretty obvious: they put 20 beds into one apartment, and there are 4-8 people living in the double deck room which was originally designed for one person. That is very annoying and cause security and fire risks to the building and other residents.

High End Group Rental

I have visited one pretty high end group rental. It is located in a top residential area, and it is a normal suite from outside. But when you enters, there is a long hall way, and there are 3 secure doors on the right, and two on the left. It is that type of door used for external doors – robbery proof and noisy proof. Each tenant has two keys: one for the external public door, and one for the private door.

On the left, if you open a box, there are five separate water meter, and electricity meter.

For the rooms, every room is equipped with bed, TV set (with satellite!), network cable, micro-wave, and a shower room. Due to the constrain of the original house, they share the same rest room.

The cost for such a room is about 1000 RMB.

I was very impressed when I saw this. Think about the value of 1000 RMB! It is like a residential suite with everything you need as a single, and it enjoys the same view and service as other residents in the top residential area (look at the big grassland downstairs).

The Problem

The benefits for the tenant, and owner of such property are obvious. Cheap but good place to stay, and higher return than renting the whole out to one tenant. It just needs some professional work.

The problem is for the neighbors. What if there are a lot of people living in the same area designed for households? They change all the time, and they are more like party guys, and they by pass all the security checks – tend to leave all the doors open since they don’t have enough door passes.

It brings additional burden to the building, and cause all kinds of risks that a residential area shouldn’t face.

My Naughty Neighbor

So, back to my story. When we found it out, the room was under construction. Workers are shipping many security doors, many hot water machines into the room. It is obvious that all the stuff were used. I guess they were just kicked from another residential area.

Many neighbors gathered, and wanted to do something. Then, the problem is, what can we do?

I described this dilemma in another article . Without a working legal system, everything is within the same government/party system, and you have to keep your finger crossed to have a “good person” handling the case.

The property management company obviously don’t know what they should do. They said they will report to “the above”. That’s it, and I don’t have any hope about what they do.

Then I called 962121, the hot-line by the government to solve this type of complain. They promised 15 days to call back. I have kept the tracking number.

What will happen? I don’t know. The first thing I thought about was to sue them. But, Hmm… “Suing? Are you joking?”

My Recent Thoughts

I am aware that I started to complain more than few years ago. I acknowledge the change, since the more I interact with this society, the harder I feel to get things done. Not just me – I think many people face the same problem. For small stuff like this, I tried to use my own way to solve it, although I know a better solution is call my friend in the government – Hmmm. I don’t like to do it that way. But for really big things like getting my son into a kindergarten, who knows what I will do?

In a twisted and weird society, you just cannot say, “I will do anything for my son”, or “I will do anything for my principle”, because you find yourself in a strange position when the two conflicts.

Craziness of Real Estate Market

Well. It’s me again, to complain about the craziness of the real estate market in Shanghai. I have talked about it many times in my previous post about real estate.

Let’s talk abut the recent round of rise of real estate market.

There is a new residential area called Xing He Wan 星河湾 near where I live – in Pudong, at Jinxiu Road and Long Yang road – within walking distance. They just opened to the market at 50,000 RMB/sq. meter. The market responded like crazy, and all the apartments were sold out in the first 3 days. That means 10 million to 20 million RMB (or 1.5 million to 3 million USD) per apartment there.

The rise of price in high end real estate showed, in my opinion, the expectation for inflation of RMB. Not only in Pudong, high end houses in Pudong get 50% raise in many places. 80,000 RMB/sq meter is the new high end house record, like the Kerry Garden near Huashan Rd, and Jiangsu Rd.

The other reason for the strong growth in housing market these days is about the lose of control of bank mortgage. It has never been easier to get loan from bank in the recent months.

Meanwhile, the real estate market for business seems to enter winter. The interesting contrast of summer in high-end house, and winter of office buildings are telling a solid story for me: it is a bad sign for the economy.

Disclaimer: Please note that I am not an expert in real estate. Don’t count on someone who never really looked into it to tell you any insights about this market. The only advantage I get is, I actually live in this city, and can hear some gossip, and news about the market.

Just FYI. I never opened a stock exchange market in the crazy Chinese stock market in the last few years. So you know how lazy/stupid/insensitive I am to the money market. Hope this additional disclaimer helps if you still think you should believe in what I tell you. — the other stronger way to say: I am not responsible for any investment made because of this article.

Real Estate Price Rises in Shanghai

The real estate market in Shanghai enters into another crazy period. No matter how many experts or the government official expected the house price will go down, it continued to raise like crazy.

This weekend is another crowded weekend. Out of my window in the apartment in Pudong, I saw batches of house agents bringing their client to visit one house after another. I guess there are about 20 of them.

In the morning, when I leave my apartment early, the house agents are already standing at the entrance, and distribute their flyers – some rude one just throw it into our car window. At each intersection of our area (Chengshan Road and Jinxiu Road in Pudong), there are house agents occupying each of the four quarters. Some of them layout tables and some layout some bill boards, and others just standing there with their iconic ties, white shirts, or a badge.

Look at the house price, it went on and on and on and on to the north. A recent report I read from the Youth Daily, the second hand house volume in the first half year has been higher than the last year the whole year.

My suspected reasons are:

1) Loans and Morgages are loosened. Most of the restrictions on second and third house loans are lifted, and people can get loans as they wish.

2) The expectation for large scale RMB inflation.

I don’t know the reason (and I cannot confirm it), but I can confirm what I saw these days – a crazy market with huge volumes of transaction. Just count how many houses around myself (my friends) were sold out or bought – it is more than the last two year combined.

Pudong is Now Like Puxi

Remember the painful move decision I made in 2004 about moving from Puxi to Pudong? Then look at what I observed at that time (that is, OMG, 5 years ago):

First Week in Pudong:

Pudong is Quiet

Pudong Sleeps Early

Fresh and Natural Life

No Restaurants, no entertainment

What does Pudong looks like in my eyes after 5 years?

I climbed to the top of one building in the area where I live, and took the following three photos:

Below is a mixture of villa area and high raising buildings:

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Below: A new move is, almost every room in the building is occupied by people, instead of empty houses many years ago. It is not easy to identify a room with no people living in there.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

See the blank area further than the park? It will be another round of high raising buildings.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Do you still feel it is the same Pudong as I described 5 years ago? It is very like another Puxi, at least by both the number of high-raising residential buildings, and the population density.

Three Best Neighborhoods in Pudong

Don’t be shocked by the firm tone of the title. Well. I would say, my three most favorite places in Pudong for coffee or dinning.

The Decision Making Process of Moving to Pudong

When Wendy and I bought our current apartment in 2003, many places in Pudong seem empty (except the Lujiazui area) while all of them seem promising. We choose somewhere that is, basically a suburb area,  AND is promising.

I wrote many articles about the moving to Pudong 5 years ago, and the articles so many that I created a category for it: Moving. Here are the articles:

I already said: "Bye Bye, Pudong", and "Continued to Seek for an Apartment", but finally decided to move to Pudong so my "Life in Pudong Started". If you are interested, maybe you can use the time-back machine (my blog entries) to understand why. 5 years past, when we reviewed our decision, we can see it more clearly.

Pudong Develops but Area by Area

In the last 5 years, three really good neighborhood emerge, according to my standards – good restaurants, good coffee shops, and good environments.

The first one is the Biyun International District. The shops and restaurant near the football court is great.


The second is the Liangyang Neighborhood. The Thumb Square is an emerging center in Pudong. There are hotels (Radisson) and restaurants, and shopping centers. My favorite – very rare in Shanghai – they also have a Zendai Museum of Modern Art.


The third is just opened. It is Jinyan Road, on the other bank of the River (Zhangjiabang River) of Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. A Starbuks coffee was opened one month ago, and become the nearest Starbucks for me.


There are many other areas in Pudong that are nice, but these are the most frequently visited places for me. Hope you like it.

There are three things in common in this three neighborhoods:

  • The buildings are all not rectangle – strange space, and twist in direction
  • There are river, or nice parks nearby and high-raising apartment buildings
  • They all have a nice Starbucks Coffee at the entrance


Future in Pudong?

With the World Expo, maybe, the south bank of the Huangpu River may start to boom, and with the plan of a new commercial center one block away from my current apartment, I hope another "nice neighborhood" start to grow near where I am.

5 years ago, there are no such places in Pudong, and now, it turned to very good and promising places.

In the next 5 years, I hope not only more and more buildings were built (I don’t want to see it), there should be some good "neighborhoods". This term is not familiar to many people, but with the emerge of the nice places I mentioned above, people may start to love the feeling that a place is not only building, but there are streets like I showed, and there are LIFE in it. I am looking forward to seeing more "raising stars" in Pudong.

Real Estate Price Keeps Crazy

It is not news that someone predict the drop (serious drop) in real estate price. This oppinion was strong three years ago, and is still strong today. The reality, however, is just on the opposite part.

Today, when Wendy and I walked around the neiboughood, and past the Sales Office. Out of curious, we stepped in and was astonished by the current price of real estates.

Wendy and I bought the current apartment in 2003. At that time, the price as 5900 RMB per sq. meter.

Today, when we asked the price at the same location (just the other side of the road), it turned out it is already 18,000 RMB per sq. meter. If we consider the price of 3000-4000 sq. meter in early 2003, that is 3 – 4 times increase in 4 years.

For good quality aparments, the “reasonable” price already raised to 20,000 – 30,000 RMB per sq. meter. This high price was only seen in the houses along the Huang Pu River at the Lujiazui area 5 years ago. Now, it is common price.

I am very confused, and the price seems keep going up dramatically.

Crazy world.

Vanke is a Good Real Estate Company

Just get back from my good friends new apartment at Vanke Holiday. It is another good residential area by Vanke.

I am a big Vanke fan. Our first apartment was in Vanke, and I spent great time there, before I moved to Pudong.

Vanke is the No. 1 brand in the real estate industry. It has the largest revenue number, and good at build vast area of residential buildings and turn suburb into new towns.


The Expertise of Doing Business

Sometimes I wondered why companies with huge amount of capital didn’t invest in the booming real estate industry. For example, Microsoft and eBay, and Yahoo! may get better gain in China by investing in real estate if they did it in 2000.

It turned out the idea is naive, since recently, I understand every company has its unique expertise. If you gave 100 million dollars to Vanke and ask Vanke to build a new town, they can spend the money more effective, with lower cost and higher price than other companies can. It is the same to invest 100 million dollars to Microsoft, and they can do better job than Vanke in software industry, and eBay on eCommerce… That is the reason every company focus on their own field, instead of going into too many industry. Many big companies in China entered too much (they call it diversity in business). Some succeeded, but more companies failed to do that. In a more efficient market, the concentration of expertise will be even more clear, so the smart decision is to stick in one industry, and deliver really good result.

New Rules to Push Down House Price

New rules was announced to push down the country-wide (so-called overheated) real estate price. There are many rules. Here are some I remember:

  • Down payment must be 30% or higher for apartment bigger than 90 square meters. 20% for 90 sqr. meters or smaller.
  • Selling apartment within 5 years of purchase are subject to about 5% operating tax of the total apartment price.

It seems the government start to be serious about the high price of apartments. Result? I cannot predict yet.

When the House Prices Goes Down

It seems the turning point of the Shanghai Real Estate has appeared. It seems to me that the price of real estate in Shanghai (one of the hottest topic) is turning down. Evidence: 1. The latest flyer I got from my mailbox about the price of the apartment was lower than the last quote – the first time in the last several years. 2. More and more real estate brokers closed their business because the limited transaction cannot support the rent. Interesting observation.

I Didn’t Escape from Puxi

ddjiii commented on the section about me in the article China’s Next Cultural Revolution:

You know, I can’t help thinking that your life as described in the article doesn’t really sound the same as you write about it in the blog. Do you really feel like you’ve escaped shabby housing, nosy neighbors and haggling with the fishmonger? That’s a very negative view of central Shanghai, I think, and one that I’ve never gotten reading the blog (or visiting Shanghai.) It was fun to see your name, and the most of the article is really interesting, but I thought this was an unjustified slam. What do you think?

Posted by: ddjiii on March 25, 2005 12:14 PM

I posted my answer (with small modification)

I didn’t read about the WIRED article before I wrote this blog. I would say, the majority of the content is accurate. WIRED magazine editor was very professional. They sent me a fact sheet and asked me to verify all the detail facts before they went to publish it. I had actually corrected some key facts. For example, my Goudaner is a FIAT instead of a VW.

However, as any article about me but not written by me, it is the view of the writers, instead of me. “Shabby housing, nosy neighbors and haggling with the fishmonger?” is not my previous life – I wrote about the previous life in Waltz Garden in Xujiahui on this blog. It is actually not an escape. If possible, I may move back to the central part of Shanghai, at the sake of losing the car. However, the car did change my life. If you read back and you will see how painful the decision I had made to move from Puxi to Pudong:

Continue to Seek for an Apartment

Pudong or Puxi

Bye bye Pudong

Moving to the New Apartment

First Week in Pudong

There are many articles reflecting the move from Puxi to Pudong. Of cause, I thank Lisa for putting out the article, and they have done a great job to make sure the facts are correct. I almost never saw one article on me that reflects 100% of what I am thinking. Above all, it is not my article.

Now I have learnt to value any place I have ever lived, worked. There is no bad place in the world. There is only bad mood.

Posted by: Jian Shuo Wang on March 25, 2005 01:47 PM

I can rest assure you, the spirit of Shanghai is in Puxi, although the nice life is in Pudong. It is all about choice.

Is the Real Estate Cooling Down? – Part III

Is the Real Estate Cooling Down? – Part II got responses. I posted the following comments to the thread that is already hot. Please forgive me to abuse the right of more control on this blog so I can post at the top of the page while others who holds different oppinion can only argue at the end of the page. :-)

Disclaimer: Don’t treat me as an expert on real estate. I am not. I just copy what I heard from the conference, which I think is reasonable analysis.

After collecting some information, I think it is the time we pay attention to the following factors:

It is true that when all investors withdraw money from real estate market, the bubble will crash. But in a closed economy, people have not many choices other than putting the money into real estate and will continue to put in more money. In LA or HK, people can easily and quickly move the money from one country/region to another. It is not the case in mainland.

If you want to withdraw your money from real estate, tell me, where you put your money? You cannot put it into any investment abroad. Maybe you can, but majority investors cannot. You may not consider putting it to stock market in China – fewer people believe in the stock market in China now. Do you want to put it into investment like REITS? There is no such investment channel in China yet. It seems you only have to put it into bank and enjoy your 2-3% interest.

One day, the foreign investment channel will open to Chinese investors. When it happens, money will flow away as quick as possible and the bubble will crash. Before that, so many people with millions of dollars on hand have no where to invest. That is part of the reason why the real estate price raises so quickly – it is an indicator of the lack of other investment channel.

We do compare from apple to apple. The income v.s. apartment ratio is a key theory foundation for the argument that we should not compare Shanghai and NYC. The annual family income to average house price ratio is around 1:6 worldwide. It is 1:12 in Shanghai. That means, 12 persons working for year can get a house in U.S. (considering two persons with income per family) or 24 persons working for one year can buy a house in Shanghai. It reflects the ratio of the price of labor and the price of resources. Now the price of resources can be traded – all the goods that flows between China and U.S back and forth, so the price is comparable, but the labor price in China is much lower. Which means, it is quite reasonable that if the household income v.s. house raise from current 1:12 to 1:20 or even higher. The secret behind it is, labor is over supplied in big cities like Shanghai and capital is also over supplied (with huge amount of money flow in from around the country) but the construction of real estate properties does not catch the speed. So the price will continue to rise.

I don’t mean the price will continue to raise forever. I agree there is bubble, serious bubble. But who cares. People only care about the bubble before and after it crashes. The most important factor for the bubble to crash is:

More investment channel is open so people have more choices to move the money out of real estate.

The ratio of household annual income v.s. properties price will drop below current 1:12 only when the labor cost of China increase dramatically.

Is the Real Estate Cooling Down? – Part II

This is part two following the last article Is the Real Estate Cooling Down?

I attended a conference on Investment in 2005 today. To be honest, I have very few investment and financial knowledge and I never care too much on the financial numbers such as the government debt and raise in gold price. I was surprised to see so many people concern these numbers so much.

One of the argument was about the trend of real estate price. I asked the question about the real estate bubble of Hong Kong and Hainai and asked about their compare between Shanghai’s situation and other real estate crashes in the world. The host answered my question. I found it reasonable.

Regarding the crash in Hainan, it was not an economy crash. It was purely cheating. No houses were built after the real estate developer got the money. They spent it elsewhere.

The biggest difference between Shanghai and Hong Kong is, Shanghai is in a closed economy. Renminbi is not free trading currency. You cannot exchange Renminbi to any free trading currencies, like USD or Canada Dollar. That means, people in China cannot invest in investment with higher return. So people have to invest locally.

People have been very disappointed in the stock market in Shanghai or Shenzhen. Huge amount of money goes out of the stock market. There are very few investment channels for the capital, so real estate has to accommodate the money. The money comes not only from people in Shanghai, it comes from all across the country. The number is a strong indicator that 40% of high-end properties in Shanghai Real Estate market comes from outside Shanghai.

So the conclusion is, the real estate price will keep raising until Renminbi becomes a free trading currency. At that time, money will flow away.

Disclaimer: It is just one of the opinion I heard. It does not represent my point of view.

Is the Real Estate Cooling Down?

I posted Hard to Buy a House in Shanghai in August, 2003. One year and a quarter past. When we enter the new year of 2005, does the situation change? Is the real estate price cooling Down? The answer is definitely no.

My friends went to see a newly opened property near my apartment in Pudong (namely, Hai Shang International Garden). Their price is pretty good – 9000 RMB per sq. meter. They just opened and people rush there. There are so many people waiting to buy the houses that the development company made the following rules:

  • The right to buy the house is based on lucky-draw.
  • All buyers needs to register with their National ID and hand in 20,000 RMB first to be entiled to the lucky-draw.
  • The winning rate will be one out of 50. That means, only one person out of 50 candidates will be granted the right to buy their houses.
  • If you want to make sure you can buy one apartment, show them 1 million RMB in cash.
  • The 20,000 RMB will be returned to those failed in the bid.

Sounds crazy?

7 Days and 7 Nights to Buy House

At the other property near the Centuary Park (about 20 minutes walk from my apartment), they just opened to public. People waited outside (in freezing air and experienced snow) for 7 days. They stand, eat, and sleep in the line. The price for the apartment is 16,000 RMB per sq. meter (or 2000 USD per sq. meter). This is based on the description of my friends living in that area.

Sounds crazy?

Shanghai’s Real Estate Price is Still Rising

Despite of all kinds of negative information on the Shanghai real estate market, the price of the apartments kept rising in 2004 and entered the fast raising period. It is astonishing, strange, and confusing!

My Friend’s Apartment for Rent

Eric finally decided to move to his new role within Microsoft in Beijing. I believe it was not an easy decision but he finally has the courage to move on. He talked about it indirectly on his post on his birthday. I cannot agree with it more. After working for more than two to four years, many people are coming to the point to make some changes and it needs courage to step out. We are seeing people making choices everyday. Congrats to Eric.

He is preparing to move to Beijing. So he has to think about how to handle his apartment at Xujiahui. I will definitely do him a favor to put an advertisement for the apartment. Please check this link for more information.

He called the apartment “a house with stories”. It is true. Any apartment is a venue (or container in technical terms) for stories. His blog reveals the wonderful loving story attached to this nice room. I have been there twice (or three times?) and had great time there with close friends. It is strange, even for me, to hand it out to someone else to live in it, let alone Eric himself.

He offered 3500 RMB per month for the 80 square meter apartment. Well. I won’t say it is the cheapest apartment in that area. Some offers lower. I know it deserves it. It is clean, with good taste of design and equipped with nice electronic applicants. His contact information can be found on his Apartment for Rent page.

Disclaimer: Eric is among my best friends in GTEC (I found 59 pages in this site mentioning the name of Eric – not all meant this Eric though). The information is provided as it. Make decision with your own judgment.

Jinqiao Biyun International District

Besides Gubei Area in Hongqiao, there is another raising international district – Jinqiao Biyun International District. We visited the area today and were very impressed by the high quality of life there.

It is in Pudong, near the Yangpu Bridge, and very near to Zhang Jiang High Tech Park and Jinqiao Export Zone.


International District

As Jinqiao (or Golden Bridge) is a place with intensive foreign investment, many multi-national companies open their factories or R&D center there. There are many foreign area manager or employees working there. The Biyun district was designed to provide a comfortable living area for them. Large potation of the houses were bought or rented by foreigners.

In the 3 sq. km area, there are churches, hospitals, Carrefour, OBI, international schools and the China European International Business School (CEIBS).


© Jian Shuo Wang. Map of the area

© Jian Shuo Wang. The Biyun Sports Center, with very nice facilities – swimming pools, tennis courts…

© Jian Shuo Wang. My FIAT Siena before the community church.


© Jian Shuo Wang. The top of the church.


© Jian Shuo Wang. Business buildings

High cost of living

Good as the living condition it is, it is relatively more expensive to live there. An apartment with 80 sq. meters (two bed rooms, one living room) costs about 1200 USD. Some good 270 sq. meters apartment costs as high as 4000 USD, which is the best choice to GM of GE (according to local people).

This is much higher than the same apartment in downtown already.

Old Houses in Shanghai – Part III

This is to follow up the hot discussion under Old Houses in Shanghai – Part II.

In that post, I put one of the 35 private villas in Lane 120 of Tai An Rd.

JH commented:

I believe that all (or most) of these houses are still state owned property. Based on the newspaper article, each two story house has about three families — not a very comfortable living condition. This actually reflects an interesting reality: There are many beautiful old houses in some very nice areas in Shanghai. But the actual condition there may not as good as it seems.

JH’s comment is quite true. Most of the houses are owned by the government, not private. But it really depends. There are several types of status of the old houses. Here is a breakdown.

Old Houses with Harsh Living Conditions

Many old houses are in this status. I visited a house that is owned by a rich family. It is a three story stand alone villa on Yong Jia Rd. After the state occupied and “assigned’ many residents, the origin owner only owns the part on the 3rd floor. When we visited the house, the living condition was really harsh. Many people lives there – I remember 7 old men/women lived in the narrow space of the stairs – they have no room, just a bed put into the stair corner with simple cover. It was really hard to march to the 3rd floor. Other families occupy the rooms. In one word, it is a hell.

It is a pity that the old house was very nice for one family but was too crowded with the many families living in the same house. The apartment on the 3rd floor was sold at 6000 RMB sq. meter at that time. The apartment was very good by itself, but it is unacceptable to live with so many people. You even have to pass many people’s bed before you reach your door in dark if you go back home late. There is almost no light in the stairs since they don’t want to save the electricity.

Standalone Houses

If someone bought the 3rd floor of the house I mentioned, and later, persuade other families in the same house to move out (by promising enough money), then buy the whole house and decorate it, the house will be super expensive.

Take this property as an example: A 350 sq. meter standalone old villa sells at 30 million RMB. It is almost 100,000 RMB/sq. meter. This is the average price of a Stand alone old villa. The picture I show before (Old Houses in Shanghai – Part II) is of this type. As rogi pointed out, the owner has a BMW, so only they can afford a house like this.

So the key is, whether you own the WHOLE villa or part of it. If you own part of it, its price is almost the same (if now lower) than other new apartments. If you own the whole villa, the price will be 10 times higher.

Other Villas

Look at the lane of 120 An Tai Rd. This is the view from the villa I posted before. There are many similar villas. They are not decorated so well. I suppose these houses are owned by more than one family.


© Jian Shuo Wang. Villa in Lane 120 of Tai An Rd.

Famous Villas

There are some famous old villa in the city. There are about 400 listed historic buildings that is under strict protection. Here are two examples.


© Jian Shuo Wang; Located at 22 Pan Yu Road was the residence of Sun Ke (Dr.Sun Yat-sen’s son).


© Jian Shuo Wang. Mr. Muller’s private residence at 30 Shaanxi Road. Now it is the office of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese Communist Youth League.

Old Houses in Shanghai – Part II

Old Houses in Shanghai continued.

Wendy and I wandered along the Tai An Road (map) and entered a lane numbered 120 on the road. We were quite impressed. There are more than 33 stand alone old houses in Shanghai. They were built almost one century ago and are still in good shape. The area is so quiet that I can hardly believe that it is in the downtown Shanghai.

© Jian Shuo Wang. West side of one of the houses. Image in courtesy of the house owner – I didn’t got permission from the owner when I took the picture. I hope they are not incomfortable to see their beautiful house here.


© Jian Shuo Wang. House picture.


© Jian Shuo Wang. North door of the house.

I believe every tourist to Shanghai should spend one hour or two in these area – it is a different life style in the same city.

Rent an Apartment in Shanghai

There are basically three major types of apartments in Shanghai. They are service apartments, newly built communities, and old simple apartments.

Service Apartment

For example, the Chang Fa Garden (map) at 290 Pan Yu Rd. has good location. They have satellite TV and large clubs (in a five star hotel nearby). The rent price is 6000-8000 RMB per month for a 100 sq. meter apartment with two bed rooms and a guest room. Many foreigners choose this kind of apartment. They offer hotel like services.

There is a piece of very interesting history service apartments like Chang Fa Garden. If the service apartment was built before 2000, chances are, they were foriegner-oriented apartments, which only foreigners could buy. Meanwhile, foreigners were not allowed to buy non-foreigner-oriented apartments. There is a big price gap between. Chang Fa Garden was label a price of 3000 USD per sq. meter when it was sent to market while local apartments nearby only costs around 5000 RMB per sq. meter in 2000. If you are interested, the current sale price for Chang Fa garden is around 10000 RMB per sq. meter.

These apartments tend to be old and the furniture may be out of date. However, they have very good locations. There are some newly built service apartments and their price will be higher.

Newly Built Communities

Vanke Waltz Garden, which I bought, is an example. These are very good choice since they offer good view, safety and brand new houses. It takes 5000-6000 RMB to rent an 98 sq. meter apartment there, although this is already relatively far away from Xujiahui (3.3 km).

Old Simple Houses

In Shanghai, the most impressive buildings were the Old houses. I mean the house built after 1950. They look ugly and are similar. They are typically 6 stories with a flat roof. Local people will choose these apartments and seldom do I see a foreigner will like it. It should cost 2000 RMB to rent a small apartment with 60 sq. meter around the area of Chang Fa Garden (I marked it in the map in my second paragraph).

Where should I look for Apartment

John sent me mail and asked (quoted with permission)

I am regular reader of your website. I love it. I would like to ask you a few questions about apartment in shanghai. I will be moving there soon to live. Can you recommend me a few websites that I can go and rent an apartment. After work, I need night life to survive, so i really need something close to bars, night club, disco, shopping and foods etc… do you know which area is best for me? oh, safety is also important for me.

Thanks so much!!

I would definitely suggest the Xuhui District, Jin’An District and east part of Changning District. I marked the “good areas” in my mind in the map below.


If night life is important for you, never think of living in Pudong. The quite and dark night there will kill you.

Regarding website, if you can read Chinese, and are two leading websites in Shanghai.

Update: Open for Apartment Submission. May 27, 2004

Since this page is No. 1 search result in google for keywords rent apartment shanghai, it may be a good service for people renting aparments and people who look for an apartment in Shanghai. If you have an apartment to rent, please submit your apartment infomation to me via Apartment Offered Form.

Update: December 2, 2004

A cheap house at Panyu road available for rent immediately. 360 USD/month (Rent out. Not available now)

Update: Octomber 6, 2005

700 USD: Biyun Oriental Apartment:

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