Location, location, location
What I have found out after working in the real estate business in Shanghai is that location is everything. And by “everything” I really mean “everything”.
I rent an apartment nearby Zhongshan Park just a 15 minutes metro trip from the world-famous Peoples´ Square. My rent is 3500 RMB/month for a relatively big room. My friend rents an apartment at Peoples´ Square and pays 5000 RMB – for a smaller room.
In a city like Shanghai you will always find things like shopping malls, metro station and fitness centre nearby your home. Especially if you live along metro line 1 or 2 (which is connected to everything worth visit in Shanghai).
Looking at this map can be helpful when deciding where to live on a budget in Shanghai:
Living in Pudong nearby the river is expensive, but that is simply just because of the multinational companies who want to have their employees living nearby their offices. If you go a bit far out from the “city centre”, Pudong is a pretty cheap area.
The areas numbered 1,2,5 and 8 is the most expensive ones in Shanghai. The location is amazing – not far away from Huangpu river and not far away from Jing´an temple.
A good advice for those of you who wants to find an apartment/property in Shanghai: check many alternatives before deciding where you want to live. You will quickly find out that living in what is considered “the city centre” might not be worth it – and you might just be a couple of metro stops away from where it all happens.