Guangzhou,  Living in China

Apartment hunting in Guangzhou – The impossible hunt for cheap and good

Renting Apartment in Guangzhou

A year ago I wrote about apartment hunting in Guangzhou and how we found our dream home. Now it’s time to move to a new home. Chinese landlords usually makes one year contracts and after that they tend to raise the rent. Our landlord wants to raise the rent 300RMB and because we don’t agree, we are looking for a new place to live.

Apartments are more expensive now than year ago. Near the north gate of Sun Yat-Sen University you can find a one bedroom one living room apartment for 2700-3000RMB. For one room studio apartment you need about 2300-2500RMB. These are of course the starting prices for decent apartments, you can find something much more expensive too if you want to.

Near the south or west gate of the Sun Yat-Sen University, you can find cheaper apartments, but they tend to be really dirty and in bad condition.

Basically finding something both cheap and good is very hard everywhere. We have seen more than ten apartments already, but still haven’t found something passable. There are four important factors in the hunt: 1. allows a cat 2. price 3. location 4. cleanliness. All the factors from 2 to 4 have an effect on each other. In order to get a cheaper rent you need to move further away and have a dirtier apartment.

Our apartment hunt is still going on and we have to find something before the 13th this month, that’s next week. Gotta hurry!


  • BarbarkaG

    Those apartments are expensive indeed. I live in Nanshan District in Shenzhen and it’s quite expensive here, but I decided to rent an empty two bedroom and one living room apartment and buy new furniture. The building we live in is really dirty and the apartment was dirty at the begining too. But we’ve cleaned up everything with my boyfriend (it took two days) and bought some cheap furniture in IKEA. We’ve made this decision cause we could buy the furniture we REALLY need and we don’t need much (for example, I need additional bedroom for a studio to paint, so the only things I need there is a desk which we took from my boyfriend’s old office, a chair and an easel) and everything belongs to us, so the landlady can’t say that we’ve damaged sth and we need to pay for this. Now our apartment looks really lovely and I feel very comfortable there, even if the staircase and the area around the house is terribly dirty and messy. So for two bedrooms, one living room, a small kitchen and a bathroom with a western toilet I pay 1800 RMB :) I’m very grateful to my boyfriend’s sister for finding this apartment (she lives next door).

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    We’ve been looking for empty apartments too, but for some reason can’t even find that one. We saw one small apartment that is 1800RMB, but the building doesn’t seem to be the safest option, I’m not sure if the police would let use live there. And if you open the windows and curtains, anyone can see straight into your apartment.

    We just got information about a room for rent in a great location, lets see if it works out.

  • Thsu1982

    It is almost a time for me to look for an new apartment in Beijing as well …..  I hope I can find a room less 2000 RMB in the CBD area…

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    There are rooms for less than 2000RMB but many of them seem to be only for women and many don’t accept cats. Just today I saw an ad looking for a girl to live with other students and the rent was 1400RMB per month.

  • Terence

    Me and my girlfriend are in the same spot as you guys, but then in Beijing. Except: you have a cat! :o I’m jealous. My (Chinese) girlfriend likes dogs, I like cats, so we bought a turtle. :P
    We really want to find a cleaner place fast though. And Beijing is even more expensive. 
    I’m going to try and follow Barbara’s tip to find an empty apartment. Will be so nice to have a cheaper rent AND your own things.Can’t you negotiate a smaller raise in rent, say 150 or so? Because she has a point, things are getting more expensive fast in China, and rent rates raise everywhere every now and then right?

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Yes you can negotiate the rent, no matter if you are renting or the landlord wants to raise the rent. But in our case it was better to find a new place that is 700RMB cheaper than the old one, it’s a big save here.

    No dog, no cat, but a turtle :) That’s an interesting choice!

  • Andy Lau Spain

     I found a job in Guangzhou, and the company doesn’t offer an appartment. Any hints for when I first arrive on how to find a nice apartment fast? Also, somewhere to stay while I do? Thanks a lot!

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Staying in a hostel or hotel would be the choice when you first arrive here. I haven’t stayed in a hotel here in Guangzhou, so can’t give any recommendations.

    I would start looking for the apartment near your workplace if that’s possible. How much time you want to use for daily commune?

    Walk around the are near your work (where is it?) and ask the local agencies what kind of apartments they have.

    You can also use websites like if you want to look for a roommate.

  • Rasheec

    Sara! Why dont u help me to find one room apartment near Sun Yat sen University. I am student at sun yet sun university. plx feel free to email me:-)

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I Rasheec! Welcome to SYSU! Unfortunately I’m working now before the lessons start and part-time during the semester too so there isn’t any time really left to do something else :/