Business / Industries

Expats with deep pockets head to
Beijing's old courtyard homes

By EMMA GONZALEZ (China Daily) Updated: 2015-05-26 08:24

Expats with deep pockets head to <BR>Beijing's old courtyard homes

Foreigners love living in traditional Chinese courtyard houses, or siheyuan, in Beijing. Wealthy expats can also renovate such courtyard houses. [Photo/China Daily]

The growing trend among wealthy expats is to rent old courtyard homes in Beijing, but finding your dream place does not come cheap as demand in the sector is high 

Marc, an investment banker from Europe, is part of a growing trend of wealthy expatriate professionals that are opting for a traditional home in China.

Even though Western-styled villas and luxury apartments dominate the high-end of the property market, older courtyard houses are starting to prove extremely popular in Beijing.

"I wanted to live in a Chinese traditional courtyard because it felt much more comfortable," Marc, who preferred not to give his surname or nationality, said. "The design is much more beautiful than an apartment block."

Aside from the aesthetical factors, living in a traditional courtyard home provides other benefits in Beijing's busiest areas such as private gardens-a rare feature in China's housing market.

"If foreigners are particularly interested in Chinese culture and want to live a colorful, convenient and sometimes quiet life, they may prefer courtyards located in the downtown area of Beijing," Apple Cai, marketing manager at lettings agent Joanna Real Estate, said.

Additionally, a government ban on future villa development in the city has made courtyard homes, or siheyuan, the only available option if you want your own private garden in central Beijing.

Existing siheyuan can be found in the popular districts of Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chongwen and Xuanwu. But some of the best-preserved homes are in Dongcheng and Xicheng.

Joanna Real Estate offers several types of properties aimed at wealthy expats based in the capital. These include a number of renovated Chinese courtyard houses. Rental prices vary greatly, depending on the size, location and state of the property.

Monthly rents for siheyuan, between 250 square meters and 350 sq m, range from roughly 35,000 yuan ($5,636) to 50,000 yuan. Courtyards of more than 600 sq m go for about 200,000 yuan per month.

One of the reasons why courtyard houses are so expensive is because there are very few on the market. Beijing's population boom in the 1990s led to the systematic demolition of many of the traditional urban houses. And courtyards and hutong were replaced by modern apartment blocks that could hold more residents.

It is hard to imagine that when you cross the carved wooden doors you will find a foreigner living in such a traditional home. But many expats are attracted by the unique charm of these old buildings.

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks