First of all I want to clear up prejudices - we are not in Tokyo here. There will be no bunk beds you have to rent out. So please do not worry about yourself facing the fear of bumping your head against the capsule, they call a bed in Japan, every morning. We are not in HongKong either - so no need to be afraid of getting back to your home country with less money than you came here.
I'm just kidding.
What I want to come up with in this article is to give you a short introduction or an instruction how apartments look like, how you can find one that fits your aspiration and what's the average price for an apartment.
I personally can just tell you about my experience. That's why you will get a short impression on the housing market in Shanghai. Later in the article I will write a bit about different cities and their average apartment prices.
When I came to Shanghai I spent my first night at a hotel and made an appointment with an agency for the next day.
I met the real estate agent on Sunday afternoon. We were visiting 4 apartments in Downtown Shanghai in the Puxi area, so to say the "southern and more traditional part" of Shanghai located very close to the Bund Finance Center. It's considered to be the one of the best neighborhoods in Shanghai since it has not only fancy shopping malls, modern buildings and a western lifestyle to offer but also small boutiques, nice bistros and traditional Chinese restaurants and markets.
I decided to go with the second apartment the real estate agent showed me. 9th floor, view on the skyline and 2 minutes to the next mall including a Chinese supermarket and of course Starbucks. Important to mention since I need some well dark roasted coffee in the morning.
So what's the price for such convenience. I pay 4.000 Yuan per month which is bit less than 550 EUR. To be honest even in Shanghai you can find much cheaper apartments for like 350 to 400 EUR if you accept to take the metro for 10 or 15 minutes to get to the well-known places.
Before I came here and did some research on it I always thought the biggest cities in China are crazy expensive. They are not cheap but compared to places in Europe like my hometown Munich or Copenhagen, London and Paris where prices for a shared apartment in such a location start at 700 EUR it is pretty moderate. The reason why I was thinking that it may be so expensive to rent an apartment here is because I have heard from Chinese friends that buying an apartment even if it is just a small one will cost you at least one million Euros in big cities. Fore rent it is a different story!
If you are thinking about moving to one of the tier 1 cities the prices for apartments are similar. Shanghai belongs to the tier 1 cities as well as Beijing and Shenzhen.
In "smaller cities" the average prices are much below the level I just described.
Slowly but steady I want to talk a bit more about the apartment itself. It's a shared apartment. But it's different than shared apartments in Europe or the one I experienced in Los Angeles back 6 years ago.
The shared apartment here for most people is just a means to an end without too much social interaction, not more and not less. There is a main door with an electronic lock you can unlock with the pin you choose when you are with the real estate agent and then there is another electronic lock with the pin for your room. So it's basically like your own apartment since it's pretty anonymous. My 3 flatmates are kind but I met the first of them 2 weeks after I moved in. We share a big, spartan kitchen and 2 bathrooms. Almost every apartment you can rent out includes a laundry machine and WIFI is included. My apartment includes a double bed, a wardrobe, a desk with lamp and chair. Important to mention, there will be an air conditioner in every room you will need since summers here are hot. I found it was very helpful to have a small kit with useful tools for everyday life lying on the desk when I entered the apartment.
By the way most agencies provide a service to clean the bathrooms and for the case repairs have to be done. At least that's how I experienced it. But let's just make your own impressions!
PS: Since you come here to teach every school or Training Center will help you to find an appropriate apartment that matches your current lifestyle and family background. Mostly accommodation allowance is provided or the salary is higher to offset the cost of rent. When you come to China WOOK Talent or the school is going to pick you up at the airport and will guide you through everything until you can handle everyday life in the city of your choice by your own. Most of the time it is not even necessary for you to call a real estate agency because the school's Human Resource department will take care of it.