Cost of Living in Beijing



Asia's sleeping giant has awakened, and is now the attraction of many people around the world.

Combining its promising employment climate and generally affordable cost of living, Beijing, as the capital of the People's Republic of China, is now an expat hotbed.


Renting a one-bedroom apartment in Beijing will cost one about 293 USD per month while a grand classic villa could cost as much as 11,720 USD depending on the size, amenities and services included in the package. Most of these homes are fully furnished and will come with a maid, concierge, and even a fitness gym. A popular price range among expats is 660 - 733 USD for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom unit. Monthly rent for a 1 bedroom flat with an attached bathroom costs -元 10000 – 2502, while monthly rent for a 2-bedroom furnished flat costs 元 48000 – 12000, while monthly rent for a 3 bedrooms furnished flat costs-元 60000 – 17500.

Buying Properties

Expatriates are allowed to buy properties in Beijing provided they have stayed in China for at least a year and had a certificate from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau to prove it. Although the country's cost of living remains generally low, housing prices, especially in capital Beijing and other major cities, have skyrocketed over the last three years, peaking in 2010 at 3,800 USD per square meter, a rate that is at least 40% higher than what it was in 2007. Although there remain government-regulated apartments and condominiums, these are offered only to families with an annual income below 12,888 USD and assets whose total worth does not exceed 83,485 USD. For this reason, most locals and expatriates opt to rent an apartment instead.


Although one can readily have cheap eats for as low as 2.80 USD in Beijing, home cooked meals offer significant savings to expats, especially those who are in the low to mid-salary range. A typical grocery bill for a month for a single person can be as low as 146 USD or even less for thrift spenders. A meal at a budget restaurant can cost 2 - 6 USD per person, 6 - 13 USD for a midrange diner and 14 - 29 USD in an upscale restaurant where staff also speak a good level of English.

Most expensive restaurants in the city offer international cuisine and rarely have Chinese specialties on their menus. 1 Daily menu in business district costs 元 40, while a dinner out for two in an Italian restaurant with wine and dessert costs 元 269. 1 Big Mac Meal costs 元 25 – 33.


Utilities can be unbelievably cheap in Beijing, owing to the government's ongoing subsidy program. Electricity, which takes up most of any household's utilities, costs only about .07 USD or roughly 73 USD per month for a one-room apartment and about 13 percent higher for an entire house. Apartment tenants who cook food on a gas stove consume about .15 USD worth of gas per month while those who also use gas heaters spend roughly 117 USD. Water is one of the cheapest utilities in Beijing, with an average household consuming about 11.70 USD worth of the commodity or about 51 USD for larger families. The cost for a monthly internet connection costs 元 100 to 150.


Beijing is known for its highly efficient public transport which is also notably affordable as well. For within the city trips, an expat can pay .15 - .45 USD while those taking trains for longer rides pay about .58 USD per 1000 km on a sleeper train. Public transport rates can even get cheaper with unpredictable price adjustments that come around every now and then, especially during national holidays. Expats with cars will find that 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas costs 元 7 - 8.30 while one inner city bus ticket costs 元 2. A monthly ticket for public transport costs 元 104.

Except for unpredictable developments in the real estate market that have cause an increase in housing prices, costs of living in Beijing are considerably lower than what one would spend in any major US, Australian or Western European city. Surely, this is positive news for expatriates who want to be part of the emerging superpower.



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