If you are lucky enough to be sent to China on an overseas placement or assignment, it is likely that your employer will either arrange housing for you or at the very least provide a generous monthly housing allowance as part of your employment contract. Be sure to check the terms of your employer’s offer carefully, making sure it fits your personal requirements. The phrase “fully furnished” lends itself to a variety of interpretations, for instance. Negotiating a good housing package from your employer will probably be worth the effort, especially if you are to be located in a relatively isolated area.
Serviced apartments catering to foreigners and wealthy Chinese are usually furnished, with utilities, housekeeping and other services included as part of the package. Most upscale hotels offer serviced apartments designed for long-term stay, as do many independent apartment complexes. Expect monthly rates from around US$2,200 to as much as US$20,300.
Luxury villas in so-called expatriate complexes have sprouted up in outskirts of many larger Chinese cities. These developments offer a quieter, more spacious environment than the high-rise apartments that are commonly found in most Chinese cities. Although involving longer commute times, they are often located near development zones or golf courses, and in many cases have international schools nearby.
Buying a home in China is now a more realistic option than ever before and worth considering for someone who plans to live in China long-term. Regulations restricting foreigners to living in specially designated areas no longer exist but it is important to be aware of some of the many other peculiarities of China’s real estate market. The maximum leasehold that can be bought is 70 years.