Moving to Hong Kong

When it comes to the price of flats, there are three factors that will have a major impact: the size of the apartment, how recently it has been renovated (if at all) and the view. A lot of people find that they have to compromise on at least one of these to stay within budget – if somewhere which has all three can be found, they’ve hit Hong Kong gold.

Pro: Lots of new buildings and lots of options

There’s always a new building being built in Hong Kong, and although that means being treated to the melodious sounds of drills when walking around the street, it also means it’s easy to find new flats. It goes without saying then, that there are a lot of options; so while there is a very high demand for property, there is also a very high supply. When searching for a flat, there won’t be shortage of places to view. In fact, flat hunting in Hong Kong is very much a numbers game; it’s all about viewing as many flats as possible until finding something that fits one's requirements.

Con: Lack of space and high rent

The rent is eye-wateringly high, and the space frustratingly small. Rent will seem exorbitant to most, however, since taxes are so low, expats should just tell themselves that the two balance each other out.

There is also a tendency when flats are being built to cram in as many rooms as possible, especially in the newer buildings. Going for older buildings from the 80s and 90s means that tenants will get more space for their money, and the rooms will be larger, but the flats might be quite tired and old (think a kitchen that hasn’t been updated since the 80s). Additionally, there won’t be much in the way of facilities in the building, such as a gym or pool. Going for a new building means that house hunters will likely have a brand new flat with great clubhouse facilities, but the flat will likely be small with lots of cramped rooms. For example, one might find a three-bedroom flat in a space that would be more suited to a large one-bedroom, or small two-bedroom.

Con: Estate agents

This is just a negative for new expats who aren’t used to dealing with the flat-hunting process. Estate agents will pretty much show everything they have, even if it doesn’t correspond to anything the expat wants. Since it’s a numbers game, potential tenants will have to be very firm and clear with their requirements, or they'll end up viewing flat after flat that they have no interest in. There is also a tendency to show all of the less appealing apartments first, in the hope that the viewer might agree to take one of them. It can be very disheartening at first, but it’s very much worth insisting and persevering, one will eventually see places of interest.

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