Looking for an apartment can be a daunting task, and when you don’t speak the language of the locals in Wuhan, you can expect to have many problems. Wuhan was recently given the nod as the country’s next major metropolis, and with billions of dollars being poured into it every year, the cost of living is quickly rising. What follows are tips to save you a headache or two.
Before searching for an apartment, you should know more about the two large residential areas that encompass Wuhan -- Wuchang is the educational centre and Hankou is the business centre.
If you want to live in Wuchang, the best area is on the main road called Wuluo Lu 武珞路. Here you’ll find old and new buildings ranging from 30 sq m to 160 sq m with prices from 800 to 3000 RMB. The best section of this road is between Zhongnan Lu 中南路and Guangba Lu 广八路.
Although this area encompasses only about 4 km, there are many things to do. On the corner of Zhongnan Lu 中南路is a building called Zhong Nan Guo Ji Cheng 中南国际城. This building is modern and a bit pricey. The smallest apartments are 55 sq m studios at 1700 RMB, but the building is mostly occupied by small businesses – this means quiet evenings!
Close to Dingziqiao Lu 丁字桥路 is a building called Yin He Yuan 银河苑, or Galaxy Park. These twin towers start with one bedroom at around 90 sq m for 1400 RMB, depending on the landlord. I lived in a two-bedroom apartment that was 120 sq m for 1800 RMB, but the furnishings were old and the kitchen had no cabinetry. They also have three and four bedroom apartments from 2500 RMB to 4000 RMB.
In Hankou, the best area is along the elevated light rail, which covers a good distance going north and south. You can live at the northern most stop called Huangpu Lu in a large modern community next to the station, and with a huge entertainment area on the other side of the station called Wuhan Tiandi 武汉天地. These apartments range from 1600 RMB at 65 sq m to 4000 RMB for 150 sq m. The best area along the light rail is Youyi Lu 友谊路, because Wuhanguangchang 武汉广场 and Jianghan Lu 江汉路are each 10 minutes away by foot and great for shopping, entertainment, and eating.
Finding that flat
Now that you’ve decided which part of the city you are interested in, it’s time to find yourself a place to live! Landlords mostly do not speak English in Wuhan, so you need a local to help you find and negotiate a lease agreement. Often you will find tiny agencies at the bottom of new buildings that can assist you in finding apartments, but be wary of them as they love to charge both you and the landlord half of one month’s rent each, or more! A better option is talking to the building manager or guards.
Lastly, you can search online. Avoid websites like Locanto that do not list prices in RMB, as they usually charge you much more than the going rate! The best websites are ones written in Chinese, because they are intended for the locals to use. Websites like Deyi (www.deyi.com, fully free to use but requires registration) and Ganji (wh.ganji.com/fang) are the best.
You’ll often find new complexes facing the street, with smaller, older ones behind them. The newer ones are much more expensive, mostly because they have elevators. Older buildings can be deceiving, as some of the apartments are quite nice on the inside but look shabby on the outside. More often than not though, you’ll find that they are just as ugly on the inside as they are on the outside. Finding an apartment in a newer building will obviously cost you much more.
My apartment in the centre of Hankou is 65 sq m in a very nice building called Friendship City. Haishanyouyicheng 海山友谊城 is located on the corner of Youyi Lu and Zhongshan Dadao 友谊路和中山大道 and I pay 1500 RMB a month. I feel this is expensive, but since my school assists me, I don’t mind too much. A typical apartment of about 90 sq m would go for between 2000 RMB and 2500 RMB. Foreigners are all assumed to have much more money, and as such will be charged ridiculous prices. However, you can negotiate a better price if you’re good at haggling.
Life as a tenant
So you have found an apartment you like, but what is expected of you as a tenant? Landlords are all different, but I’ve had great luck when dealing with them personally and not using an agency. You will normally be asked to pay either two or three month’s rent as a deposit, but see what you can get away with when it comes to paying rent instalments. Lastly, some sort of building maintenance fee will probably be required, usually around 100 to 150 RMB a month.
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I have just read this article, August 2012. Is this information still accurate? I will be in Wuhan end of this month. So far, I have heard of apartment 45 sq meters for 2000 or so. This sounds very, very expensive and not good deal. Are better apartments still available?
Aug 03, 2012 11:37 Report Abuse