The villa market in Shanghai is almost exclusively dedicated to expatriates and well off local Chinese. Some developments solely house expatriate employees. These tend to be located in the suburbs, though there are some notable exceptions in the centre of the city that are
difficult to obtain.
The largest selection is in the Downtown areas, though many suburban villa developments have apartment blocks as well. Apartments come in a full range of sizes and facilities, from
simple apartments in luxury compounds to penthouses.
Restored colonial properties
This is what many people think of when they envision the Shanghai of yesteryear. Many people choose this option after living in Shanghai for some period of time and feel comfortable in the city. While these buildings certainly come heavily laden with class and style, they can also be a source of unending frustration as the building infrastructure (long neglected during the height of the communist period) experiences the inevitable problems.
It is strongly recommended that new comers to Shanghai do not choose the colonial property options because of the maintenance problems and lack of facilities. It will also further isolate the incoming family from the supportive environment of living near other expatriates. Furthermore, many companies do not allow their expatriates to live in these houses.