Well-known residential areas such as Stanley, Mid-Levels and The Peak are giving way as destinations of choice for expatriate professionals as they now prefer more affordable locations such as North Point, Chai Wan, Tung Chung and Sai Wan Ho, according to stats gathered by a relocation company.
According to Maggie Chen, general manager for Allied Pickfords in Hong Kong, cutbacks to expats packages after the 2011 financial crisis, combined with the rising cost of living, were cited as factors underpinning the change in trend among housing preference of expat professionals.
With reduced expat packages, some even accepting local ones, clients have sought real estate agents for cheaper options, though Chen said the number of expats coming to Hong Kong remain steady.
Chen also said that newcomers to Hong Kong belong to a new generation — singles or couples without children.
The findings by Allied Pickfords relate to an earlier data provided by property listings site spacious.hk which indicate the volume of searches for properties in Hong Kong island — arguably the most expensive region to live in Hong Kong — has dropped by 5.4%. The reverse in trend is experienced in Kowloon (up 3.5%) and New Territories (3.1%) which experienced higher interest among property seekers.
Expats coming to Hong Kong are now more open to go away from the traditional locations such as in Hong Kong island, as long as they are close to the railway stations. Given than many of them arrive without children to consider school locations, there are fare more places to choose where to live.
Such trend could prompts a shift in strategy among business related to expatriates such as property agenys, movers and relocators, and create new opportunities for communities to welcome expat neighbors and businesses that cater to their needs.