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How To Purchase An Apartment In Shanghai As A Foreigner

Wondering about buying an apartment in Shanghai as an expat. This should shed some light.

Jerlon22 inquired:

"I live in the United States and am employed here. I often like to travel and I recently received a nice bonus this year and was looking to spend it on something that I would really enjoy. I am an avid traveler and I have been looking at making China my destination of choice. I have been through Asia many times, and it's something I definitely would want to pursue more.

I am completely unsure of how to get an apartment in Shanghai, but I have been looking.

There is a very nice apartment for around $70,000 USD to 'Purchase' which I assume means I would 'Buy and own' this apartment.

I have no need for financing, I would purchase it in full.

How does that work if I'm a US citizen and wanting to travel to china 2-3 weeks a year and use my apartment? It may appear as a waste, but I would also let family and friends and when I travel out on business trips I would utilize this apartment as well.

I have no need for a loan, and everything would be paid in full. It would be a "second" home for me. Can anyone explain how this works?"

Moonlighting replied:

"For that price, you'd better come look for yourself.

It's either in the boonies of Shanghai, far on the outskirts of town, or else it's a local selling an apartment that's going to be condemned soon and is looking for a sucker.

As far as purchasing, foreigners are allowed to buy one property, and you can use an agency here to help you rent it for long or short term rentals. But, get your own translator and be sure everything is legit, because it's not unusual for fakers to sell apartments that don't belong to them, then take the money and run."

burrito added:

"Was about to say the exact same thing- but this notion isn't just limited to foreigners. None of the local population seems to know what is going to happen either at the end of their 70 year lease period. The idea is that I seem to get is that everyone expects the government to bail them out of their lease and give them enough money to lease three other apartments before the 70 years is up.

I have a lot of coworkers/friends (Chinese and foreign) that have leased houses and one question literally none of them seem to be able to answer is what happens if you sell the lease after a few years. If you live there for 10 years, and sell- does the new owner only get 60 years? Does this mean that if house prices are staying the same- that the investment essentially loses value by nature? I must have asked this question to at least 15 different people and NO ONE has been able to give me a straight answer (maybe because they are too embarrassed about the truth, maybe because they legitimately do not know). This would be the first thing I asked if I was about to sink $500k into a very sketchy and risky investment."

Full thread below.

Check out the Shanghai Expat Forums for more info on coping in the 'Hai.