What are the top factors to keep in mind when searching for a place to live in your city?
The property market in Hong Kong has experienced many ups and downs. The financial crisis of 2008-09 saw dramatic reductions in rental prices, but the market has recovered, with the fastest increases being in the luxury, high-end properties.
Space is limited in Hong Kong. It is rare to find big houses with gardens for children to play in. The typical housing choice is an apartment (flat). Bedrooms are usually smaller than what many transferees are accustomed to. The size of an apartment is measured in square feet, which may include a share of the foyer and elevator area. So it is advisable to ask about the net area to get a fuller picture of the size.
What are the most popular neighborhoods in your city for expats?
Tai Tam and Redhill Peninsula boast the Hong Kong International Junior and High Schools, and this area has become very popular. The accommodation in this area is new and very well-appointed, many with swimming pools and club facilities. There are a number of high-rise and townhouse estates in the district. The area is served by buses and mini buses only, as the MTR does not yet travel to the south side of the island. It is a short drive through the Tai Tam Gap to Chai Wan, the eastern terminus of the MTR, so taxi is also an alternative option.
There is good shopping nearby for the basics, such as groceries and dry cleaning services. The Redhill Plaza has numerous shops, including a large Western-style supermarket. A car is necessary if you live on Tai Tam Peninsula.
Stanley is also very popular among expats due to its lovely village atmosphere, with fine beaches and a large choice of townhouses and low-rise apartments. Stanley has good restaurants and pubs and is home to the famous Stanley market, which sells clothes, leather goods and souvenirs. As above, this area is not serviced by the MTR, but there is good access by bus and mini bus to Central, Causeway Bay and Shaukeiwan.
Chung Hom Kok is located on a peninsula midway between Repulse Bay and Stanley and is a quiet, predominantly low-rise area. Accommodation here consists of townhouses and luxury low-rises, and commands higher rentals than many areas of the South Side. Many of the villas have pools and private yards. There is a small local supermarket, dry cleaner and a doctors' surgery, although most residents travel to Stanley for shopping, about five to ten minutes' drive away. The area is well served by public transport, but not MTR, with routes to Central and elsewhere. Both campuses of the Hong Kong International School are nearby.
Repulse Bay and South Bay, both have stunning sea views, good beaches and a broad range of modern high-rise and colonial low-rise apartments. The area boasts a combination of luxury high-rises and townhouses, many with commanding views over the bay and the South China Sea beyond.
Expatriates with young families often choose Repulse Bay because of the clean air, outdoor space for the children and proximity to the Hong Kong International School's junior and senior facilities.
Well-stocked supermarkets are close by. Commuting time to Central is approximately 25 minutes by taxi or car, and 35 minutes by bus to Central.
On the Kowloon Peninsula, Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay are the preferred areas for expats. They have larger Spanish-style housing with lock-up garages, swimming pools, gardens and pleasant scenery. The only downside is the commute to Central. While the MTR does reach these areas, it is still a long commute by HK standards. However, the slower, friendlier lifestyle is enjoyed by many families. Recreation is plentiful, including the Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club. There is also an ESF school in Clearwater Bay for primary school students. For secondary school, King George V in Homantin is an option. Hong Kong Academy is located in Sai Kung, both Kellet school and Nord Anglia International school are not far from the area and attract a lot of students from Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay.
West Kowloon is an area of fairly new high-rise residential complexes connected to the Kowloon Airport Express Station. This access to the Kowloon Airport Express Station (the Airport Express is the train that runs from Hong Kong Central to the HK International Airport) means West Kowloon provides efficient rail transport to both the office and the airport. West Kowloon is also only 10 minutes from Tsim Sha Tsui, a well-known tourist & shopping hub with many restaurants, international hotels and the Harbour City Shopping Mall. West Kowloon is also 5 minutes from Jordan MTR station and 15 minutes from Mongkok by bus or taxi. There is also a shuttle bus service to Tai Kwok Tsui Wet Market. The Airport Express shuttle bus service runs from the Kowloon Airport Express station to major hotels around Tsim Sha Tsui. Commute time from West Kowloon is 10 to 20 minutes to Central by ferry or MTR.
Do expats tend to buy or rent their homes?
Expats typically rent their apartments.
Typically, will I be required to pay additional money up front (such as a deposit) before moving into leased housing? If so, how much is common?
When renting, the landlord will normally require a two to three months' rental as deposit. This does not include the first month's rental, which is normally paid well in advance as a "holding deposit." Be prepared to produce three to four months' rent, plus half share of stamp duty of 0.50% of the yearly rent, and real estate agent's fees of half a month's rent.
Rental listings may not always include government rates or management fees. As a ballpark figure, these are usually 10 to 15 percent extra. Look for a rental price that is "inclusive." The management fees are dependent on the facilities available in the building and the age of the development.
Are utilities generally included in the price of rent, or are they extra?
Utilities are not included in the rental (unless you are going for a serviced apartment option). Water, electricity and gas are all extra. Deposits are also required for all utilities. Crown Hong Kong can provide information on TV, internet and phone, and connect you with the service representative if required.
Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?
There are no special security concerns in Hong Kong. Most buildings have watchmen guarding the entrances around the clock.
I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?
Socket type: UK Style 13A (predominant style), 3 round pins (small), 3 round pins (large)
Do you have any other accommodation information that might help me?
Please contact Crown Hong Kong if there are specific concerns or requests.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.