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This vertical city hovers over its colonial and historic past. The dazzling towers of the Pudong District blaze far above the former banks and custom houses on the Bund, the rows of 19th-century shikumen townhouses and the Art Deco buildings and leafy lanes of the French Concession. The Pearl of the Orient TV Tower dominates the city skyline, but closer to the street, Arata Isozaki’s Himalaya Center, a retail, hotel and theatre complex, and the Oriental Art Center, designed by Paul Andreu, ground the district. Soon Shanghai Tower, slated for completion in 2014, will have 121 stories and be the second tallest building in China. (The next world’s tallest building, Sky City in Changsa – with 220 floors – is to be built this year.) Meanwhile, the after-effects of hosting the World Expo 2010 are still benefitting the city with the 5sqkm site being redeveloped into a mixed-use district along the Huangpo River, walkable from the Bund, by 2016.

Shanghai’s housing market continues to bubble along, with prices rising in recent months and an improvement in sales volume from 2011.  The average house price is 20,677 renminbi per square metre and foreign buyers need to prove one year of residency in order to buy a home. The luxury residences in Pudong’s highrises are popular with buyers who wants to live in the sleekest, most upscale of apartments, while others seek a piece of history with a Western-style row house in the French Concession. A two-bed apartment in a newly constructed building in Pudong can start at 8 million renminbi. A one-bedroom city centre flat costs about 5,500 renminbi per month, while a three-bed costs 12,000 renminbi. Lane houses rent for 25,000 to 80,000 renminbi a month and sell for anywhere from 20 to 80 million renminbi.

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