Hong Kong is home to one of the world’s biggest international trading posts, a powerful manufacturing base and a booming financial centre. It attracts expats from all over the world and the city has become a melting pot of cultures and landscapes.
We’ve listed a few hacks for expats who plan to move to Hong Kong or have only started finding their way through city. These tips should guide you through the process of finding a temporary home while you’re here.
RECOMMENDED DISTRICTS & NEIGHBORHOODS
Mid-Levels comes highly recommended for newcomers as it is ideal for singles and families. It is located halfway up Victoria Peak, directly above Central. There’s a large expat community with a mix of affluent locals. Its features are its close proximity to nature (Hong Kong Park and Wan Chai Nature Trail) and a comparatively better air quality than many parts of Hong Kong Island. The University of Hong Kong is also within the area along with primary and secondary International Schools. The Central–Mid-Levels escalator runs through the Mid-Levels from Central to Conduit Road. It allows people to travel quickly between these two places, compared with travelling by the winding roads up the mountain.
Average Monthly Rent for 2 bed, 1 bath apartment (870 sq. ft): HK$ 38,000 – HK$43,000
Expats looking for more reasonably priced housing and a sense of integration with the local community should consider renting in the residential area running from Tin Hau to North Point. Although this neighborhood doesn’t have any large-scale shopping malls it does have supermarkets, traditional wet markets and good restaurants for expats to enjoy. The well-priced apartments in this area are also generally in good condition.
Average Monthly Rent for 2 bed, 1 bath apartment (850 sq. ft): HK$ 31,000 – HK$41,200
Wan Chai is also a good district to explore because it’s a commercial district with a trendy residential area if you prefer an active social scene. There is also a wide range of housing types—from budget-friendly dwellings to serviced apartments and complexes. There are also nearby parks, culture & arts centers as well as office buildings for medium and small scale businesses.
Average Monthly Rent for 2 bed, 1 bath apartment (470 sq. ft): HK$26,000 – HK$34,000
Expat families have also begun looking at Kowloon Tong because of nearby quality international schools. It is a quiet neighborhood with relatively more spacious apartments for rent. Colonial-style houses, low-rise apartments and a smattering of gated communities make up this high-end residential area. Kowloon Tong is serviced by Festival Walk, an upscale shopping centre, and is connected to the city centre by the MTR that is about a 20-minute commute to town.
Average Monthly Rent for 2 bed, 1 bath apartment (600 sq. ft): HK$ 21,300 – HK$28,100
RENT CAN BE VERY EXPENSIVE
Apartments in Hong Kong are very compact but it does not equate to cheaper rent. The cost will generally depend on your location. If you’re single other expats would recommend a shared apartment to save money. Moving to Hong Kong with your family would require different arrangements and priorities.
A real estate agent with expats as their clientele can help in finding properties that might be more tailored to western tastes. However we suggest you ask a local friend to help you find an estate agent. Prices tend to go up for western clients and the best deals are kept for Hong Kong locals!
MAKING A CHOICE
What is your priority in terms of dwelling? Is it comfort or practicality? Do you prefer living in the city center or somewhere less fast-paced? How much is your monthly budget? This will help you decide as you choose a place to call your temporary home.
When renting or buying your home, make sure you also get an All Risks Home Insurance policy to protect you from any liability and expenses during your stay. Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities to live in so find an insurance policy that will cover all your needs from mortgage payment liability to loss of properties inside the house.