China has remained the leading place of origin for international students in the U.S for 7 years and this is the 12th consecutive year that the Open Doors data show growth in the total international students from China.

作者:Yiwei Chen

According to the data from the Open Doors Report published by the Institute of International education (IIE), the number of Chinese students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 8.1% to 328,547 during the 2015/16 academic year, comprising 31.5% of all international students studying in the U.S.


Chart Sources: The New York Times; Open doors report, Institute of International Education

These strong increases have profound influences on the economy of the United States. International students pay much higher out-of-state tuition which provide considerable revenue to the host universities. Besides, international students contribute large amount of moneys into the local economies to pay for living expenses, such as accommodation, transportation, dining, supplies and health insurance. The housing market is one of the local markets which will be greatly benefited from the arrivals of Chinese students so the residential preferences of this group should be concerned.

An article written by Su Hua lists some personal and household characteristics of renters who are Chinese students in the U.S., including:

  • Less than 30% of the Chinese renters have a car available.
  • The average family size of them is pretty small, which is only 1.6.
  • Very few of them are married and even less Chinese renters have children.
  • Their average length of stay in the US is not long, only about three years.
  • Only about 38% of the renters consider themselves as “Proficient in English”.
  • They live in the houses with average built years of 5 and average bedroom numbers of 3. Many of them live inside metropolitan areas’ central city.

As we all know, renting is all about “Location, location, location”. Location is one of the most important influencers when choosing somewhere to live in the U.S. even for the Chinese renters. It is not surprising that they would like to live near colleges to save their transportation costs and time. Also, the Chinese renters prefer locations near bus stops and/or metro stations because most of them do not usually own a car.

Interestingly, a survey conducted by WeHousing shows that 95 percent of the respondents put safety, but not location, in the first place when they select accommodations. The small family size of them is one of the reasons why they prefer safety. Besides, as most of them are in the U.S for less than 3 years and they are unfamiliar with the new living environment, it is more difficult for them to seek for help if their personal safety is threatened. Influenced by the negative news about crimes in the US, such as robbery and shooting accident, Chinese renters especially the new renters, worry about their safety in the US so they tend to look for safe apartments with operating security facilities, and avoid those with known accidents.

In addition, there is a misconception that Chinese students go with luxury housing over dorm rooms. It is true for only a small percentage of them. According to the data collected by WeHousing, about 70% of the Chinese students are looking for inexpensive apartments($350-$500/month) and only 11% of them want luxury apartments($601-$900/month). It is reasonable for them to consider the price as an important factor for residential choice to reduce the high living expenses.


Chart Source: WeHousing

However, students’ renting preference can be different depending on the characteristics of different areas. For example, in College Station, as the available transportations  are limited and the average renting rates are low, the Chinese renters would prefer convenient transportation than low price. On the contrary, in New York, they would probably give more weight to price than transportation due to higher living costs and easier access to public transportation there. One-size-fits-all marketing strategy to reach Chinese renters no longer works.

An interesting fact regardless area is that Chinese students tend to live with other Chinese students, and their preference for living within their community may be mutual. There are so many cultural differences between Chinese and American. Shan Hu, a Texas A&M University graduate who lives with an American roommate, says:” My roommate doesn’t like the oily smell when I cook, so I have to cook after she is out.” As most of the Chinese renters are not proficient in English, they might face difficulties when they try to negotiate with their roommates. As the result, they probably choose to compromise, instead of keeping negotiating.

Nowadays, Chinese tenants prefer to discuss apartments and find their roommates on WeChat, the most popular social media networking in China having 768 million daily users. Some current and former Chinese tentants like to share their experiences in the WeChat groups to help the coming students to make their decisions. Usually, the apartments with good reputation and high profile are most popular among the Chinese renters.

Founded in 2012, WeHousing has gained rich experience and outstanding reputation in the international student housing market in the US. Known for its professionalism, network and responsibility, WeHousing has provided free consultation to over 100,000 international students and helped 10,000 of them to sign leases at our partnering apartments by various marketing strategies. To build reputation for the apartments and increase their exposure among Chinese students, WeHousing customize appropriate marketing services with the knowledge about Chinese students’ residential preferences. The services include apartment tour report, on-site video tour, email marketing, social media marketing, festival event and oversea new student orientation.


Su Hua. “To Rent or to Own: Residential Tenure Choices of Chinese Students in the US”
The New York Times. “The Roots of China’s Real Estate Rush”. Nov.28,2015

About Us 关于我们

WeHousing team was formed in 2012 by Alan Gao, and it has been the leading booking website for international students living in the U.S. We have established long-term partnerships with many leading companies that provide student housing, and, now, WeHousing aims to become the one-stop website to assist international students in searching, applying, paying deposits, and finding roommates for their ideal, off-campus living places. In 2016, WeHousing opened an office in China to better serve new customers who are international students and to boost its partnership with other educational services companies. WeHousing has provided free consultation to over 100,000 international students and helped 10,000 of them to sign leases at our partnering apartments.

WeHousing 由创始人Alan Gao于2012年在美国建立。从创立至今,WeHousing团队已经向超过100,000个美国留学生提供免费租房咨询服务。与此同时,与美国各大领先学生公寓管理公司建立的良好合作关系也为WeHousing的校外学生公寓房源带来巨大的保障。如今, WeHousing正致力于成为一家集校外房源搜索、公寓申请、跨境支付、室友匹配于一身的一站式校外租房平台。2016年初,WeHousing为了向中国留学生提供更优质的服务,以及加速与当地教育机构合作,在北京建立了首个海外办公室。





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