Hong Kong Housing for expats

One of the world’s leading financial and business centres, Hong Kong has long acted as a beacon for expats keen to experience a taste of dynamic city life in Asia. However, this bustling destination, where culture and tradition meet modernity and technology, offers much more than a landscape of glittering skyscrapers, shopping malls and fantastic places to eat. The bright lights of the city are encircled by shimmering blue seas, secret beaches and magnificent hiking opportunities. It’s not hard to see why one might choose to relocate to this tempting location. But what sort of options are available for the house-hunting, Hong Kong-bound expat?
How to get started
Unless you’re lucky enough to receive assistance with accommodation from your employer, finding the right place to rest your head when you move abroad needs careful consideration. Whether you choose to rent or buy in Hong Kong, it is always advisable to seek expert, local advice to help you navigate the legal procedures which are different from what you might be used to here in the UK. Your future employer’s HR department may be useful for guidance or at least help point you in the right direction and, as housing in Hong Kong is in high demand, it is always best to start your search sooner rather than later.
We would also advise becoming au fait with various online expat forums to help decide on the right location for your rental or purchase as this wholly depends on your circumstances and priorities. Would you prefer a townhouse or family home in The Peak or a high-rise apartment in the central location of The Mid-Levels? Would you prefer the seaside lifestyle of Repulse Bay or the trendy shopping and entertainment facilities of Wan Chai? There are many sides to Hong Kong and the location you choose can transform your entire experience.
To rent or to buy?
Renting is usually the best solution for expats planning a temporary stay with tenancy agreements ranging from around three months to three years. You can begin your search online or in the classified section of the local newspaper, but hiring a licensed real estate agent with knowledge of the local market is probably your best bet at finding the property of your dreams – particularly if you do not speak Mandarin or Cantonese. Without a reputable agent, foreigners in Hong Kong have found themselves subject to fraud.
There is a range of housing options in Hong Kong, including studio apartments, multi-bedroom apartments and townhouses. Accommodation is generally of a high standard – some landlords might offer all-inclusive utilities, but it is likely you will need to make your own arrangements for electricity, water, Internet access and phone service.
If you do choose to buy, you will also need to hire a solicitor to assist you throughout the transaction and take care of the various fees and taxes that will need to be paid. There are a number of different financing options though you can usually count on getting a mortgage for up to 90% of the value of the property you desire. You will need a copy of your Hong Kong identity card and proof of income and financial track record to apply successfully.
Locating and securing housing in Hong Kong is a pricey business, but keep your eyes on the prize – a perfect home for your new life abroad.
If you are considering moving to Hong Kong from London, Cadogan Tate will assist you every step of the way – from your first enquiry to unpacking at your new home, we are here to help and advise you. For more details about Cadogan Tate’s specialist international removals services from London, click here.
Information correct at time of publication.