Hong Kong is one of the most promising venues for people to come to and settle down considering the numerous opportunities to grow and flourish it offers in every field. Due to this Hong Kong experiences an overwhelming influx of expats from all over the world.
When it comes to finding a place to live many expats choose the traditional HK Island-side haunts around the central business district. Those that have a more flexible budget opt for the larger Kowloon-side apartments and the ones in the New Territories. Because of the space crunch, the property rental market of Hong Kong is exclusively expensive.
If you are an expat and are looking for expat communities in Hong Kong then here is how you should begin.
- HK Island Apartments: Small flats, usually unfurnished with simple, usually tiled decoration
- Southern Kowloon(Jordan, Yau Ma Tei, Mongkok, Prince Edward): Cheaper and more authentic with homes for working class Chinese, elderly retirees and Asian expats.
- Tin Hau, Fortress Hill and North Point: Affordable and near to Central and Causeway Bay.
- Serviced apartments: Poor value but ideal for singles
- Off HK Island: Cheaper rents, low rise options on outlying islands but increased charges of ferry commutes.
Flat Hunting Tips
- Many property agents compete with each other over the same properties.
- Amenities are cheap in Hong Kong. Water charges will be under HK$40pm, gals will be HK$100pm, internet access starts from HK$200pm and electricity is a few hundred.
- If you have a flexible budget then the higher you go, more expensive and isolated from noise and pollution the buildings become.
- Not all flats are furnished. You can get second hand furniture at a reasonable cost.
- Before agreeing to get a house check all fixtures and insist on repairs and alterations to be included in contracts.
- The landlord is supposed to pay the building management fee.
- You are given time to settle in by charging no rent for first 2 weeks of your stay.
- The flats that are located near cemeteries offer a huge discount.
- If the property has been signed through an agent you and your landlord will be giving him half a month’s rent commission.
- All contracts have a 12 month minimum term and 3 months rent in advance (first month, a month as deposit and the final month’s payment in advance).
- You can negotiate the terms with your landlord by meeting him directly.
Links for Classified Listing and Flat-shares
- South China Morning Post: Local English Daily
- HK Magazine: Serviced Apartments ads
- Craiglist and Gumtree
Traditional Expat Areas
- Aberdeen: Rents for 800sq ft unfurnished apartment starts at HK$7000pm. It has a cemetery, Country Park, nature trails and paths to the reservoir
- Black’s Link and Tai Tam Reservoir Road: Tall, luxurious apartments with rents starting from HK$50,000pm.
- Chung Hom Kok and Headland Drive: Quiet and secluded with great sea view. Rents starting at HK$30,000pm.
- Discovery Bay: Playground for expat families with 24 hr fast ferries to HK Island. Rents start at HK$20,000pm
- Mid-Levels, East: A lesser popular expat enclave with quiet and private housing. Rents start at HK$25,000pm
- Mid-Levels, West: Mixture of small, old and new apartments with rents starting at HK$15,000pm
- Happy Valley: Small and clean apartments, good transport links with rents starting at HK$15,000pm
- The Peak: Colonial architecture with panoramic views. Rents starts at HK$50,000pm
- Repulse Bay and Repulse Bay Road: Popular among expats and Chinese residents alike. This area has a beach, cricket club and shopping facilities. Rents start at HK$40,000pm
- Shek O: Step village with fine private homes and lush gardens. Popular among expats. Rents from HK$15,000pm in the village and HK$300,000pm in private vintage houses.
- Stanley: Popular among expats. Area has a great beach and reputable schools. Rents from HK$12,000pm in older areas near the market otherwise from HK$40,000pm
- Tai Tam: Quiet with a country park and a reservoir. Located near Stanley with rents from HK$45,000pm.