You Call this a Flat? – How to Find a Cheap Apartment in Guangzhou

You Call this a Flat? – How to Find a Cheap Apartment in Guangzhou
By Thomas Ackerman ,

Finding a reasonably-priced, quality apartment in Guangzhou can be mightily complicated. There are plenty of apartment-blocks out there, but that's part of the problem – shopping for the one you want, in the place you want. District-by-district searching sounds at face value like the best idea, but it's not as easy as it sounds since, like many Chinese cities, most Guangzhou districts have exorbitantly-priced condos sitting just blocks away from ageing apartment towers.

How much does it cost to live in the different districts around town?

Although the district search is only partly helpful, it can still give us some idea of where to begin, so let's look at the prices by district for a moment. All the prices below are for 1 bedroom apartments, with some furnishings and appliances, between 35 and 65 m2. Information is taken from (Chinese language only).

Tianhe, as always, ranks most expensive, with a range usually between 1,600 and 4,000 RMB a month, and an average of 2,600. Some of the more upmarket developments are the International Apartments, Zhujiang New Town and Tianhe Bielu, all generally above 3,000 RMB.

Yuexiu District comes in next, ranging between 1,500 and 4,000 RMB, and averaging at 2,300. Dongshan and Beijinglu are both expensive areas, mostly above 2,500.

In descending order of price, the other districts stack up as follows:

Liwan: 1,500-3,000 RMB. Average: 2,100. Fanciest: Xiguan, Chen Clan Academy, Zhoumen – mostly above 2,200 RMB.

Haizhu: 1,400-3,000 RMB. Average: 2,000 RMB. Fanciest: anything by the riverside – 2,400 RMB and up.

Baiyun: 900-1,800 RMB. Average: 1,300 RMB.

Huangpu: 700-1,300 RMB. Average: 900 RMB.

Luogang: 500-1,500 RMB. Average: 800 RMB.

Panyu: 600-1,800 RMB. Average: 800 RMB. Fanciest: Panyu Country Garden, Star River, Qifuxincun, Southern Olympic Garden – 1,600 and up).

Zengcheng: 650-1,400 RMB. Average: 1,000 RMB. Fanciest: Zengcheng Country Garden – 1,300 RMB. Note: This district is rapidly developing, so price changes may be faster than normal here.

Huadu: 600-1,500 RMB. Average: 800 RMB. Fanciest: Yajule Housing Community – 1,400 RMB.

Nansha: No full price range was listed. Average: 500 RMB. Fanciest: Nanhai Country Garden – 1,100 RMB.

Keep in mind that the apartment price range will be generally narrowing, as older buildings are replaced by new ones. So even when the top prices are not rising, the bottom ones are. Also, in the outer-lying districts, the lower-priced apartments are usually going to be located further from center. There are still a few older villages located centrally, but this is getting rarer and rarer.

And remember that you’ll be expected to pay a (refundable) damage deposit when you move in – typically the equivalent of two month’s rent.

How about finding the best deal for a foreigner?

Agencies can always help, although if you are capable of doing the search yourself, this could save you some money in agent fees. Try to contact the owners directly if you are competent in Chinese or have a friend or spouse who is. Agents can be very helpful, but they are also a gamble. Chinese language will definitely assist you in finding the best deal, but certain owners will not even rent to foreigners. If you do go through an agency, as many foreigners do, a good search of the comments on their webpage can help in deciding whether to use them, as can a recommendation from a friend. Larger agencies with many outlets probably have more experience and respectability, but this really guarantees nothing. 

One starting point besides agencies is to look on expat blogs and start asking questions. Check out the eChinacities Guangzhou classifieds section to get started. You can find good, friendly recommendations from expats here, as well as some agents looking for clients. Other websites simply advertise housing for very short-term visitors, offering modern flats for between 100 and 400 RMB per day. These rates can get hiked up during Canton Fair, or lowered if your stay lasts several months.

Can I negotiate if I don't like the price?

Negotiating price is a definite “yes” in most places in China, and can save you a few hundred RMB or more on your rent. Some of this is dumb luck (finding a flat that is desperate for residents) and some of this is skill (being able to just say no if you don't like the price). I know someone who talked his way into a modern apartment overlooking the Pearl River for only a little over 1,000 RMB, which is truly a rare deal. A part of being able to do this is knowing what other deals are out there and what other levels of quality are like. You can use these to make a strong case for a more-likable price.

How else can I save money?

A different route you can take in finding the right apartment for the best price, is getting an older place and doing a fix-up job on it. A friend of mine and his wife did this, even painting the whole flat, and the owner was good enough to reduce the rent by half. After all, it makes the place look much nicer for later residents, so the owner benefits too. If you choose to rent an old apartment, and do the fix-up job, you could do the painting, as well as installing new items, such as a bathtub, modern oven, etc. Be sure to cut out the middle-man as much as possible, by going directly to the factory or other cheaper stores yourself. You can cut costs by as much as three-quarters this way.

The refurbishing route, however, is not the one most of us will take. Most of us are transitory residents and do not want to put in the labour. We are still left with the quality, price and location debate and will probably end up making a few sacrifices for one of those things. If you are unfamiliar with China in general, and wish to live in the cheaper flats, do be prepared to give up a few comforts of home, as you can expect most low-rent places to be missing one or more of the following: bathtub, oven, insulation, nice furnishings, modern water-heater etc. If you have the money to spend on something better, then look to the 1,500 RMB and up range anywhere central, and negotiate with confidence. Good luck!

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it is just dumb not to be able to copy this information for us to use and save in a printable format

Jul 28, 2018 09:31 Report Abuse


comment|44613|284140 looking aprment.. near nanfang tasha(guangzhuo) around 1000rmb-1500rmb urgent!!

Mar 13, 2014 16:42 Report Abuse



hello am a student from southern medical university (nanfang yike daxue) and am searching for a 3 bedroom apartment to share with 2 of my friends. the apartment should be located around the university about 10-15 mins walk.
for about 2000-2500 RMB. or 3 studios same location 700-1000 RMB

Aug 09, 2012 00:59 Report Abuse



oh and we are planning to stay for a period of 3 years, can anyone help me?

Aug 09, 2012 01:02 Report Abuse



It is ideal to find a reasonably-priced apartment which locates in your desired area. So, as an apartment owner, I am looking for the one which wants to find a cheap apartment in Baiyun district because our apartment is located there and rentals vary according to your staying period. For more information, just search us online by keywords, guangzhouoasis apartment.

Jul 20, 2012 22:27 Report Abuse


vincent budy

hi, i'm just got a job in guangzhou . And i need an apartment for rent. My budget price is around 1000 - 1400 rmb .Please somebody help me for this matter. i need it soon . Please email me :

May 24, 2012 19:17 Report Abuse



hi, i'm just got a job in guangzhou . And i need an apartment for rent. My budget price is around 1000 - 1400 rmb .Please somebody help me for this matter. i need it soon

May 24, 2012 09:48 Report Abuse


ahmad bahgat

i want to buy a small apartment in guangzhou and in yiwu, any help?!

Apr 10, 2012 10:24 Report Abuse



Hi. I am looking for flat or apartment in Haizhu district (Xin gang road would be great). The place has 1 bed room, bathroom and some furnish like washing machine, etc. would be great. My budget price is around 1000-1,800 rmb.

I plan to live around 1-2 months. Please help me to find this. Your any info. Would be highly appreciated. Thanks in advance for all you help.

Please kindly contact me at


Apr 04, 2012 03:33 Report Abuse



we are a couple who came from Venezuela
spend 23 days in yiwu, for work as soon as I alquilarias the apartment from April 2 to April 25, we are currently working on my cell is 08613798047472 canton

speak Spanish and portuguez

we are very interested, if you have other apartments please let me know

Mar 28, 2012 14:22 Report Abuse



i want a 2 bed room flat with living room and kitchen with normal furnishing from rmb1500 to 2500 in lujin lu Yuexiu district email me at or call 15338091757

Mar 20, 2012 04:28 Report Abuse



Hi. Im moving to Guangzhou and am looking for a 2-3 bedroom apartment with a pool for up to 6000 in the Tianhe district. Any info appreciated. Thanks.

Jan 31, 2012 07:12 Report Abuse



HI I am looking for an apartment in the Zhuhai area will be moving in next 3 to 6 months in price 2500-4500 RMB need furniture in good area please send info to me thanks

Jan 16, 2012 03:18 Report Abuse



hei, im looking for a studio apartment near Sun Yat Sen University for about 1000-2500RMB. can u help me with sum info?
thanks a lot

Jan 13, 2012 23:02 Report Abuse



I am for a flat in Panyu near Louxi bridge somewhere or near olympica garden, any near this area.

Jan 13, 2012 20:50 Report Abuse



Hi, guy, Can you help to find one apartment of 1Bed room Living room with all basic need, furniture around Guanding metro , TianHe dist Price about 1000-1400 PM

Jan 03, 2012 19:04 Report Abuse


celina joan

i am looking for a flat or apartment located in Nanhai.tha price is about 700-1000RMB a month.the place must near the market so its easy and also near to a metro station if necessary.hoping the place and area is safe and the environment is clean and green.

Nov 02, 2011 23:38 Report Abuse



if you have alittle knowledge of chinese ( i dont ! ) you can use a website called ganji ( i cant put the url ) its like a second hand website i think. Anyways they have thousand of apartments for lease with pics and price and all relevent information. And its super easy, even for non chinese speakers like me, you can choose your district, and even a building or " garden " you like and a list pops up only for that property! Best of all, they have a little icon if its a private rental, so no agency fees! good luck!

Jul 22, 2011 21:59 Report Abuse



im looking a cheap apartment in zhujiang new town or ligan nawan guangzhou

Jul 06, 2011 23:29 Report Abuse



I'm looking for a cheap apartment in Guangzhou for around 700-1000 RMB a place that is big enough to tutor my students English.

May 31, 2011 15:37 Report Abuse



Hi, Dou. We are the owners (not agent!) of several cheap apartments in Baiyun District, Guangzhou. Rentals vary depending on how long you would be staying but if you are going to stay for 6 month or more, it would be RMB1000 per month.

Some apartments even offer free rent period, if you are willing to put in the efforts to do the decoration.

For further details, please email me at


Nov 28, 2011 02:23 Report Abuse



i am looking for cheap apartment in baiyun district. if suitable will be living there for at least 2 years . how can i contact you......

Aug 01, 2012 03:35 Report Abuse



hi shirley_gz ..can u helping me find 1 aprment around 1000rmb-1500rmb near nanfang tasha..urgent pls..

Mar 13, 2014 16:44 Report Abuse



my office is in baiyuan area 66-guagyuan xi lu i want aprtment in baiyuan near my office

May 21, 2011 20:24 Report Abuse



it depends on your requirements.
In Tianhe area, some apartments only cost 900RMB, with simple furnishings.
My advise is that tourists come to find some local friends and they would show you the way to live in GZ.

Sep 11, 2010 01:39 Report Abuse