Hong Kong Apartments
When you arrive you may need to look at Hong Kong serviced apartments or hotels as an interim solution to your housing needs. Please refer to our page on short-term accommodation.
Hong Kong apartments can be small (upwards of 800 square feet for a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment) and comparatively expensive. Because of this, accommodation can be something of an adjustment. Rental prices range enormously according to the location, the floor, age/condition and whether there is a maid's room or facilities, e.g. swimming pool, gym and security. A family let in a predominantly non-European area like North Point, Tai Koo, Olympic or South Horizons (Aberdeen) will be cheaper than in a more mixed area like Happy Valley. Try Pok Fu Lam if you want better value on the island, or Discovery Bay (read DB Magazine) on Lantau island if you want a more family friendly environment. Areas like Mid levels (near Central) and Repulse Bay tend to be expensive with lots of corporate lets. Lamma Island and Mui Wo on Lantau offer a more 'alternative' living environment whilst Sai Kung and Tai Po will suit those wanting a larger property and a long drive to Hong Kong Island. Visit the District Councils homepage and see what Wikipedia says about each district.
When you rent an apartment you really need to use an estate agent, although you can sometimes find classified advertisements in the South China Morning Post or online. Read the threads or post an enquiry on one of the internet forums (see links). A lot of the property available is registered centrally, so all the Licensed Realtors can access the same properties. Some vendors list only with one agency, so it is best to pick an agent close to where you want to stay as they might have some exclusives. The biggest agencies are Midland, Century 21 and Centaline. However long the lease, estate agents charge the landlord and tenant 2 weeks rental as a finders fee EACH. Although some will be willing to help secure short term lets, their fees usually make serviced apartments and long-stay hotels more viable. A two year lease is standard, with a one year break clause in favour of the tenant, or with either side having the ability to break after 12 months. With property rents rising dramatically, don't agree to a reciprocal break clause unless you want to risk renegotiating your rent upwards after a year.
- Only register with one or two agents. With no Western style property brochures you could see the same apartment with two agencies and be liable to two fees if you take it.
- Pick agents that really understands your requirements and can communicate clearly.
- You can make offers, but try asking for a rent-free period instead. If your landlord is an investor this will allow them to be flexible on pricing without affecting the yield.
- Talk to your employer about whether you have, or can have housing provisions included in your contract to gain tax breaks.
- Engage an Orientation consultant to help guide you through selecting and securing a property. Refer to the Contact Us page.