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PeterP

Shanghai Apartments in Pudong and Puxi??

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Firstly, a big hello to everyone! This forum has been incredibly helpful (informative and candid) as I prepare my upcoming move to Shanghai. First order of the day... I need an apartment! I know this topic has been rehashed a gazillion times (I've read many of the threads) but I thought I'd share my story and see if any of you may have some updated advice or leads specific to our case.

I'll be moving to Shanghai with my husband. We're in our 30s, no kids, enjoy going out and city living (cafes, restaurants, yoga, etc.), and look forward to both expat-oriented as well as local amenities/activities. I am ethnic Chinese and speak Mandarin, he is non-Chinese and learning Mandarin, and we've both been to different parts of China for work and leisure so not entirely unfamiliar with it. His office will be - gasp! - in the vicinity of the East Zhoupu station (Line 16), just a few kilometres away from the Pudong airport. There appears to be a company shuttle he can take from Longyang Rd station (Line 2, 7). My work location is yet to be defined but will most likely be rather central/accessible in Puxi or in the greater Lujiazui area in Pudong. Our housing budget provided by his company is 26,500 RMB.

We would like to develop a shortlist of properties before we arrive in the last week of June for the apartment search so we can better direct the company rental agent (i.e. have some control since I don't trust these agents to have our best interests at heart) and have a more focused, efficient search. Ideally, we would like to decide on a place within the week we're there. 

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For now, our criteria are:

1. Preferred areas:
a) PUDONG (along line 2)
b) PUXI - People's Square
c) PUXI - Jing'an (along Line 2, i.e. Jing'an Temple, W Nanjing Rd)
2. Best Metro line: Line 2 (within 10 min walking distance)
4. 3 bedrooms with 2 baths preferred; will settle for 2 bedrooms with 2 baths
5. Furnished (dishwasher and oven, washer and dryer, basic living/bedroom furniture)
6. Air-conditioning and heating
7. Double glass windows preferred
8. Electricity, water, gas, cable TV, broadband internet included
9. Gym on property preferred 

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The properties we have included for consideration so far:

Puxi
- Jing An Four Seasons (does the advice to go for high floors on Blocks 7 and 9 due to surrounding construction still hold?)

Location-wise, Crystal Pavilion seems comparable to Jing An Four Seasons so maybe we should also add that to the list?

Pudong
- Skyline Mansion
- Yanlord Garden
- Shimao Riviera Garden

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I know each of the 4 properties above have had good reviews. Are there other properties we should be considering? In the interest of time, we don't want to spread ourselves too thin over too many properties...

For those of you with utilities included in your lease, how well does that work? The bill goes straight to the landlord and you never have to lift a finger? And if the landlord defaults?

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Hello!
Firstly your husband’s work location sounds like a bit of an arse to get to. But, it sounds like you’re thinking of locating somewhere that should balance that commute vs lifestyle, good luck. I assume he doesn’t have a driver.

Have you considered the area south of Century Park? It’s close enough to get the company shuttle from Longyang and close enough to L2 to get to LJZ and on to Puxi. Could be a nice balance with the minimum commute, not exactly city centre but there’s the park, restaurants, shops etc.

If you’re looking at Jing’an that's a 25 or so minute metro commute (plus the time it takes you to walk to the metro) through the busiest section of L2 (including the hell on earth that is People’s Square) to get to Longyang, followed by a company bus which doesn’t sound like much fun and I reckon would take way more than an hour in total. Or take a taxi, but taxi drivers from Longyang are wankers and getting one in East Zhoupu might be tricky. What’s his maximum acceptable commute time?

If his maximum acceptable commute is one hour then you might also consider Xujiahui or Jiaotong Uni stops. L11 terminates in Luoshang road, one stop to East Zhoupu and would mean he would get a seat on the way back. That commute would be under an hour and not rely on a company bus or taxis. Also west FFC has a fantastic mix of going out, cafes, restaurants etc and easy to get to most places in Puxi.

If I was Chinese and spoke Mandarin I would not be looking at obvious ‘expat’ compounds like those but speaking with a local agent face to face (and not disclosing my full budget or my husband’s nationality!). If those compounds are all the company agent can come up with, I’d reconsider relying on them. (not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with those compounds per se, it’s just if you are Chinese it seems pointless to pay more for somewhere used to dealing with foreigners when you can speak about maintenance/ bills/ wifi/ TV etc in your own first language). Also, if you tell a decent agent a specific area they they should be able to come up with different options in your price-range (though, in my experience they just take the simple route and recommend the same shortlist of massive compounds to everyone)

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While I agree that Xujiahui and Jiao Tong University stops on Line 11 are reasonable as I live in the area, Line 16 is crazy nuts. Luoshan Road Station is as packed as I've ever seen one during rush hour. I've taken it to get to Pudong Airport twice and don't think I'll ever do that again. Have even seen some people get on the train heading to Longyang Road, go up one stop, and get on the train going the other direction. Even Longyang Road was nuts to board Line 16 as it was nearly impossible to get through to get off and over to the Maglev.

Based on those experiences, I would minimize my time on Line 16 as much as possible avoiding it entirely if I could.

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Thanks SHN! I think you're quite right about the prevailing laziness of appointed agents. They don't know yet that one of us speaks the language... maybe it's time to tell them so.

The hub's threshold for the commute to work is 1 hour.

Your idea about Xujiahui and Jiaotong Uni stations is a great one. For some reason, although we know we'd like the FFC area, we never considered metro line 11... ostensibly because the hub's office is still a 20 min walk from East Zhoupu station, so it'll be 50 min on 2 train lines plus 20 min walk. And UDCh's point about the transit does make me shudder a little... 

In contrast, to Longyang from W Nanjing (20 min) or Dongchang (10 min), plus a 40 min shuttle appears to be the more "direct" route for him.

The only reason Jing An Four Seasons made it to our list is that it literally sits over the W Nanjing station.

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I’m not disputing your L11 experience, I used to commute on L6 to Century Ave (then L2 to LJZ), those narrow trains and low railings made for an ‘interesting’ few months of commuting. However, I’m not sure there’s a particularly relaxed/ pleasant metro line during rush hour that goes anywhere useful.

Considering to live in Jing’an and commute through Nanjing Rd/ People’s square/ LJZ on a twice daily basis only to then get a company shuttle bus sounds dreadful to me. I’m thinking rock vs hard place springs to mind. My advice would be; don't work in East Zhoupu!

But at least if you lived in Xujiahui area then you wouldn't be living next to Nanjing Rd! (ok, so, I personally hate Nanjing Road) Or, my suggestion of south Century Park could be a compromise. Or negotiate a driver… 

Or hunt for other company bus routes…

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Nope, quitting East Zhoupu means no Shanghai for us, so that won't work.  

We'll certainly look into Xujiahui as well as south-of-Century-Park... though if we're going for the latter, we may as well take the easy route and find something at Skyline or Yanlord Garden and hoof it to Dongchang.

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Sorry, I was joking about the ‘quit Zhoupu’! Obviously the job is, where the job is.

I don't think Yanlord Garden is equivalent to south-of-Century-Park as a location. Yanlord requires walking to the metro, taking a couple of stops (via Century Ave which is a very busy Pudong interchange) then hunting down the shuttle bus. South-of-Century-Park leaves the possibility of walking straight to the shuttle bus pick up with no metro needed. Both locations are equally close to L2 stations though offer different surroundings.

I’m not sure LJZ/ riverside is ‘easier’ than Century Park area with Kerry Parkside/ C. park itself/ restaurants/ shops on your doorstep.

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No worries! Hub's moaning the long/crowded commute but I'm from Singapore and more than used to it. We're actually super excited about the move and plan to take Shanghai as it is... the good, the bad, the ugly 

I'll have the agents look at Century Park south. So far, besides the riverside properties, we've only been recommended the properties east or northeast of Century Park (Seasons Villas, Yanlord Town, Shimao Lakeside) which don't seem sensible without a car/driver. Kerry Parkside looks great but I'm concerned it's out of our budget.

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As stated, I live in Xujiahui (125 meters from Entrance 14) and either commute to Weining Road (L11 to L2) for our engineer's office and my more common commute or Guilin Road (L9) to our office. Comparatively, L11 and L2 are pleasures when stacked up against L9 but that may also be because of the hours. I leave slightly later going to our office than the engineer's office.

However, L16 has L9 beat. At Longyang Road, the platform was so full that the people getting off the train could barely move through the crowd. At Luoshan Road, the platform was completely crowded and not everyone got on the train so I would expect to have to wait a few cycles before getting on once I got there. I would, honestly, avoid commuting on L16 unless necessary.

I'm actually going to have to move when my lease is up because the landlord has decided to sell. I've got a little over 5 months and I'm not looking forward to the pressure I'm going to get to leave Xujiahui. I love the convenience of living in the center.

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Finding the right accommodation with great accessibility is probably the biggest stressor of moving to a new place. I just said to my husband last night that I'm glad we don't have kids (yet)... can't imagine when we have to throw schools into the mix. 

At the end of the day, it's a toss up between proximity to city centre (but lengthy and potentially arduous work commutes) and straightforward work commutes (but a slight trek to where the action is). Shanghai may have its peculiarities but one faces this same dilemma in most cities to where one moves, no?

Good luck UDCh. I hope you don't have to compromise too much in your search.

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Thanks. I've already searched once. It took me 20 apartment viewings before I found one that was acceptable. I'm not looking forward to doing that again. If they want me to move to Nanqiao, it ain't happening without an increase in my package...   

My best advice is to pick a place that minimizes what you will do the most. That's commute back and forth to work. You'll do that more often than you will heading out for the nightlife.

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OP. Commutes on the metro here can be tolerable or hellish, never pleasant! It also depends what you're comparing it with; someone used to the Bakerloo line in London at 8am Monday will have different expectations to someone commuting in a Toyota Camry in New Jersey suburbs!

My strong recommendation would be to try it. Sounds obvious but loads of people don't. And corporate relocation companies don't suggest it because they generally couldn't give a shite about your life, they just want you to sign a lease and get you off their books. 

Either stay in a hotel in the correct location or get a taxi there and jump on the metro at the approximate time. Especially if you're considering Nanjing Rd. 

I'd echo the last poster's suggestion of minimising commute but not to the extent of actually living near Zhoupu!

I'd seriously double check if there are other corporate bus routes too since your basing everything on getting to Longyang.

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I live in Jing An Four seasons and love it - see other thread on the topic.

In terms of using line 2 on a daily basis, I have a colleague who lives in Lujiazui and uses the metro every day to Songhong Road metro station in the morning (6.30am) and back again in the evening (6.45pm). He doesnt mind it and has done it for nearly 4 years now. If you are on the metro outside of the killer rush hour times you will be fine.

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Just now, iJames said:

I live in Jing An Four seasons and love it - see other thread on the topic.

In terms of using line 2 on a daily basis, I have a colleague who lives in Lujiazui and uses the metro every day to Songhong Road metro station in the morning (6.30am) and back again in the evening (6.45pm). He doesnt mind it and has done it for nearly 4 years now. If you are on the metro outside of the killer rush hour times you will be fine.

Half an hour on L2 leaving LJZ way before rush hour isn't really comprable to 25 mins + taking a company bus for another 40 when you're restricted by the bus travel times and you're working in the arse end of nowhere if you miss the bus or have to work late. 

Anyway, the OP isn't the commuter, that's the husband, I'd like to hear his feedback after testing it out in a couple of weeks time!

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Thanks for ALL your perspectives. Highly appreciated. 

The bottomline is this... what's a short commute for the husband will probably mean a long commute for me (and vice versa) since - as I wrote - he works so far out of town and I'll most likely be in the heart of Puxi.

We have no illusions about Shanghai, its housing options and its connectivity... going in with eyes wide open and feet on the ground. We'll visit in 2 weeks for the apartment search and will put everything to the test then. Wish us luck. 

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