5-square-meter Shanghai flat rented out shortly after listing

By Linh Le   May 8, 2024 | 08:43 pm PT
A flat in Shanghai, measuring 53 square feet (4.9 square meters) and featuring a bed directly behind the toilet, went viral after being rented out almost immediately after hitting the market.
A narrow room. Illustration photo by Pixabay

A narrow room. Illustration photo by Pixabay

According to the South China Morning Post, the flat, renting for 300 yuan (US$40) per month, is situated under a staircase. It features a "bedroom" with a toilet and a washbasin right in front of the mattress, under the sloping stairs overhead.

In a video advertisement, a male real estate agent enthusiastically introduced the flat, describing it as a "dream home" and highlighting that given the high prices in the Shanghai property market, this was an opportunity too good to pass up.

During the video tour, the agent opened the property’s door to reveal a space for just one person to stand. A plank of wood acts as a wall, separating the flat from the neighbor’s unit.

To the left of the space is a kitchen, equipped with a stove. On the right is the bedroom-bathroom combination, with no windows. Tenants must sleep on the floor facing the toilet, and a water heater hangs next to the bed.

"Be careful when taking a shower, or it will get your bed wet," the agent advised.

The flat was reportedly rented by a driver for Didi, a Chinese ride-sharing platform similar to Uber, on the same day the listing agency published the advertisement.

The listing prompted diverse opinions from online communities. Some questioned the challenging living conditions of people who rent such properties, while others found living there acceptable.

"I can’t imagine how hard it is for people who live here and how strong their hearts are," one online observer remarked.

"It’s not bad, actually," commented another person. "As long as I can earn money, I think it’s still acceptable to suffer this much."

Last year, a micro flat also measuring five square meters sparked debate in China over its "extreme" use of space, according to the Singaporean news outlet Today. Rented out for 1,600 yuan per month, the loft came with a small bed and two wardrobes positioned at its head to optimize space.

Citing Chinese property valuation agency Baisen Appraisal, the South China Morning Post reported that the average rent for a one-bedroom flat in Shanghai exceeds 5,134 yuan per month. Meanwhile, half of Shanghai’s population earns less than 6,000 yuan a month.

Listings with monthly rents below 1,000 yuan are thus typically snapped up almost immediately after becoming public.

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