Expat Accommodation Guide Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world in which to live and the prices of buying or renting in this city will shock most ex-pats. The majority of the landscape here is hilly and mountainous, which simply means land is at a premium. The vast majority of residential buildings consist of high-rise apartment blocks that are tightly packed together in small spaces. A large percentage of ex-pats opt for management-run apartments that offer clubhouse facilities such as security services, swimming pools, gymnasiums, and children’s playgrounds.

However, the square footage of most of these apartments is very small and it is not unusual to find families of four living in accommodation that has less than 1200 square feet. On the whole, the more expensive properties are to be found on Hong Kong Island and the general rule is that the higher the floor in a given block, the more expensive the rent/purchase price. Other aspects such as open views, outdoor space, and building facilities also come at a premium. Many of the older-style Hong Kong building blocks are low-rise and more spacious, but quite often these are dated and do not offer the same level of services as the newer developments.

Depending on where on the Island the property is located, it is also highly probable that the newer high-rise blocks overlook such low-rise buildings. For those who are seeking spacious accommodation in scenic locations, the best place on Hong Kong Island is the south side where residents are somewhat shielded from the pollution that usually envelopes the island. However, these spacious apartments are also very expensive and will generally cost upwards of HK$45,000 per month to rent.

Away from Hong Kong Island, less expensive properties can be found on Kowloon, the outlying islands and in the New Territories. Kowloon is a busy and bustling district which offers cramped and crowded apartments though it also has pockets like the area of Kowloon Tong which hosts luxury villas and is home to several international schools. In recent years, many new luxury developments have been constructed in the area of Kowloon West near the new International Commerce Center, such as One Silver Sea, The Harbourside and The Arch. Despite their location away from Hong Kong Island, these developments come with a hefty price tag.

If you want to live in a house or a villa then your best bets are areas like Sai Kung, Clearwater Bay, Stanley on the south side of the island, Discovery Bay on Lantau Island and the Gold Coast in the New Territories. If money is no object ‘the Peak’, as Hong Kong’s famed Victoria Peak is commonly known, is an option as well. Landed houses and villas are generally reserved for people with substantial wealth. While these do have the added benefit of outdoor space and a garden, they also lack the convenient location and security of the bigger apartment blocks.

The Hong Kong property market is notoriously volatile. Analysts predict that property prices in Hong Kong will fall by as much as 10% in 2014 and 15% in 2015. Rental prices will remain relatively stable, with small decreases in rental fees of around 1% expected