Hong Kong’s property rental market is one of the most expensive in the world. The closer to the central business districts, the more expensive it becomes. However, more and more are opting to find better apartments for less cost on Kowloon-side and in the New Territories.
Liveable shoebox apartments will start at around HK$5,000 a month, though – for a decent area and a more bearable measure of floor space – it’s best to aim more towards HK$10-15,000 per month.
In any case, here’s what you should expect when renting apartments in Hong Kong:
- Kowloon and Hong Kong island apartments are small flats from 70s-90s, however newer and modern residential developments are now rising up. The difference between the new and old is that the old building mostly have damp, draft or pest problems and no elevators. New apartments however offer less space, Spartan designs and considerably higher price range.
- There are in-betweeners, service apartments that are ideal for singles or on the look for more permanent homes, those staying for a short time only or people who need to be close to their workplace.
- Apartments and rental properties will get cheaper up north but is more distant to from virtually everywhere, workplaces and transport links. If you’re pushed for finances, low-rise options on outlying islands are the cheapest deals. However you have to travel by ferry to get to and from the mainland — and be prepared with contingency when the weather turns sour.
- The most expensive rents are those in high levels in high rise buildings where there is less noise and pollution. Top floor penthouses also might offer rooftop access.
- Hong Kong is a superstitious place, so flats located near cemeteries command a sizable discount. Property agents in the same area would most likely have the same properties to show you. You might get to visit the exact same flat.
- The cost of utilities in Hong Kong is affordable, bordering towards cheap. For a small flat with a single occupant you can pay roughly HK$ 40 for water, HK$ 100 for gas, HK$ 200 for internet connection access a month and electricity can vary depending on use, HK$ 600, which can double or triple in the summer due to air-conditioning unit uses in the midst of a humid summer.
- Most flats are bare and have little to no furniture. You can easily compensate for this by buying second-hand furniture which is very cheap. Van rentals, if you don’t have your own car is also cheap.
- Building management fees and taxes are paid by the landlords. Most places also offer 2 weeks stay rent free in order to help you settle in. Always negotiate so the landlord will offer this privilege.
- Agents and landlords might use high-pressure tactics to make you take the room. Capture pictures or videos when in viewings and if you’re interested in signing a contract, check all fixture/fittings/cables/wirings and insist on repairs to be worded into the contract. You can even ask for a room division using dry/fake wall at shared cost.
- If you’re signing for property using the help of an agent, they will probably ask for a commission fee half of your monthly rate and the other half from the landlord. Dealing directly with the owner — bypassing the agent — saves you half-a-month’s worth of rent which is a big deal especially when you’re expected to buy new pieces of furniture and other expenses associated to settling in.
- Almost all contracts require 12 months minimum lease term, although some might offer 6 months or more than one year minimum term. Most landlords also require 3 month rent payment in advance which is the first month payment, a month payment as deposit and the final month’s payment in advance.
- All terms and conditions are negotiable and even by passable as long as you and your landlord agree on new terms to follow.
- All areas in Hong Kong is safe, so security is not an issue compared to other developed cities.
- If you’re looking for more budget-friendly and affordable housing for students, single people and those who have tight budgets, you can opt to try the Southern Kowloon (Jordan, Yau Ma Tei, Mongkok, Prince Edward) – near the red MTR and home to working class Chinese, elderly retirees and Asian expat neighborhoods like Indian and Nepali communities or Tin Hau, Fortress Hill and North Point – the place is on the island and is affordable for most and is near the Central and Causeway Bay via the MTR blue line.
Moving to a new apartment in Hong Kong can be expensive — if you wish for a hassle free relocation — as you need to pay movers, agents, utility deposit, a bulk of the monthly rentals and extra pieces of furniture. It can also be very laborious task as you need to lift, measure, push, dispose, pack and unpack, and so on. But soon as these tasks are done, it’s a rewarding experience to be in a new environment.