China’s Smallest Apartments: Will These “Snail Homes” Prove a Success?

China’s Smallest Apartments: Will These “Snail Homes” Prove a Success?
Aug 20, 2013 By

Editor’s note: this article was translated and edited from, and looks at a new type of apartment: the tiny “snail houses” that are only 15sqm big. These houses are set to hit the market at the end of the year, and target young graduates who are looking for somewhere affordable to live in. Given the fact the house prices in China are currently sky-high, they may be a viable option for the future.

The recent popular TV series Dwelling Narrowness (蜗居), which focuses on a couple who, due to sky-high house prices in China, are forced to live in a tiny apartment, has triggered the interest of many young university graduates. Even smaller than Hong Kong’s infamous “pigeon cage” apartments (鸽子笼), these apartments, nicknamed “snail homes” (蜗居房), are currently being built in the Dongguan Vanke industrial area, and will soon be for sale in Xi’an. Reportedly, the 15sqm sized apartments are currently China’s smallest single-room apartments. Pictures of these tiny dwellings have been trending on the internet and have recently garnered worldwide attention. On July 25, a reporter arrived in Dongguan to inquire about these so-called “snail homes”.

All that you need in a shoebox

An employee showed the reporter a prototype lounge that would be featured in these snail homes. The room, which was fully kitted, gave an impression that despite its tiny size, it featured all the necessary features required to live well enough. Within the 15sqm room there is a bed, a bathroom, a cupboard, a desk and a wardrobe. According to the employee, these snail homes only come in 15sqm sizes, though there are three different layouts that feature different decorations and furniture arrangements. Two of these decoration types have already been completed, and the other is currently being worked on. 

One spokesman from the Vanke Architectural Research Center stated that the designs for the apartments were set out in July and August 2012. Although they are currently testing the prototypes out, there are plans to put them on the market soon. The name of the area where these tiny homes are planned to be introduced is called the Xi’an Vanke City, and currently plans are moving towards the construction of the apartments. 

For sale by the end of the year

During a recent real estate forum, the Deputy Director of the project Zhou Weijun stated that by the end of the year, these tiny apartments will be up for sale in Xi’an. They will also be located in the heart of the university city in Xian’s Chang’an District, with over 20 colleges and technology companies located nearby.

The company have stated that the apartments will be targeted towards 20-somethings who work in the city center. “We designed these apartments for people who have just graduated and live near the university area. However, the prices have not yet been fixed,” confirmed a spokesperson from the Dongguan Architectural Research Center. 

A gap in the market?

Despite the lack of confirmation about the price, there is hearsay that the price for a furnished snail home in Xi’an will be around 7-9,000 RMB per square meter. This means that the apartments will cost around 130,000 RMB to purchase, with down payments being no more than 50,000 RMB. Monthly mortgage repayments will be around 7-800 RMB. One employee told the reporter, “These apartments are only being tested out in Xi’an at the moment, though we hope to have around 700 properties on the market by the end of the year. If business does well, then we will look to expand the project to other cities.” There are currently no plans for these apartments to enter the mainstream property market, and there will also not be a great deal of land construction to facilitate the houses.

One analyst believes however that these “snail homes” are still very much in the early stages, and it may take a long time to properly push them onto the market.  

Source: Wenxuecity

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Keywords: house prices in China snail homes


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hm... try to calculate the building expences and the look at how much those socalled "Business " people behind they earn. Damn greedy tactics .... " Look cheap closet size apartments "....... Only winner is as usual the greeedy people behind ( Puke..... Puke ... ) Thumbs down ....

Sep 12, 2014 20:39 Report Abuse



I see plenty of more use of space in the photo. like above and below the bed for storage of clothes, shoes, etc. youtube has videos of making use of space in small apts. its based on the super-duper high rent costs in NYC.

Aug 20, 2013 17:02 Report Abuse



As they joke in my country about japanese apartments...."you could hear your neighbor's farting".

Aug 20, 2013 09:39 Report Abuse



Like anything in China the rich will be the winners out of this and "the devil take the hindmost, snail" Better than trying to rent in a big city where the rich with their many properties are forcing the rent up.

Aug 20, 2013 08:37 Report Abuse



This would be perfect for me in Shanghai. Easy to heat and cool, and perfect for one. I only wish it had a laundry machine.

Aug 20, 2013 06:03 Report Abuse



if that would be build in shanghai then it probably would cost 2500-3000 rmb rent lol all the housing prices are sky rocketing because the people are greedy and the renters have no other choice. Why those small houses should change this behavior? Look at HK those shitty small 7 sq apartments are even more expensive

Aug 20, 2013 08:37 Report Abuse