A Guide to Renting Apartments in Hong Kong
Moving to Hong Kong to begin a new business venture can be a very exciting time in an entrepreneur’s life. However, while Hong Kong may hold opportunities aplenty, there is one thing an entrepreneur should know before packing their bags to make the big move – renting a property can be expensive.
In fact, Hong Kong has been consistently ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world when it comes to property rental. Floor space in Hong Kong is scarce too, where apartments are significantly smaller compared to a lot of other cities. Still, Hong Kong has something for everyone. It is entirely possible to find your dream abode in this thriving city.
For a decent, nice enough studio or a single room in a shared flat, be prepared to dole out as much as HK$10,000 as a minimum entry point. HK$60,000 is the going price for the more expensive studio and one-bedroom units. If you’re having trouble locating a good area to live, enlisting the help of a real estate agent could be your best bet.
If you’re ready to make the big move, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at our guide below to help you with your apartment hunting process in Hong Kong:
- Your Friendly Neighbourhood: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories are good areas to consider. Where you end up renting would depend on two factors – your budget and your personal preference. Hong Kong is a very safe city, so you don’t have to worry about ending up in less than desirable neighbourhoods.
- Getting to Know Your Central, Mid-Levels and Peak: These are essentially where the most affluent members of Hong Kong’s society reside, so you can expect rental prices to be higher here. If you’re after a panoramic view of the Victoria Harbour, the Peak is where you would call home. Mid-Levels on the other hand, is where you will find luxury residences.
- The Artsy Neighbourhoods: These would consist of Sheung Wan, Kennedy Town and Sai Ying Pun. Coffee shops, yoga studies, bars and art galleries are among the common fixtures in this part of the city. These factors tend to attract a lot of millennials into the neighbourhood too.
- Hong Kong’s Eastern Parts: Fortress Hill, North Point and Tin Hau call the eastern parts of the island home. This area is among the more affordable locations, especially when compared to Central and Causeway Bay. Affordable, but still reasonably close to the heart of the city. Navigating this area can be a little tricky for expats who only speak in English though, because Cantonese is the main dialect of conversation given that it isn’t a particularly expat-heavy area.
- Hong Kong’s Southern Parts: Jordan, Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok are home to the working class, Southeast Asian immigrants and the elderly. The southern parts of Hong Kong are known for their delicious street food, markets and local eats. Rent here is cheaper too, and you can still get quick access to Tsim Sha Tsui and Central through the MRT’s red line.
- Residential Upmarket Areas: Discovery Bay, Happy Valley and Cyberport are areas which are ideal for families. If swimming pools, parking spaces and supermarkets are your priority, then you and your family will love living in this part of town.
Leases in Hong Kong
A typical rental lease in Hong Kong is for a period of 2 years. There is a clause in the tenancy agreement which does allow either party to terminate the contract after the first year. In this case, 2 to 3 months’ written notice must be given. Before signing your lease agreement, always be sure to read the details carefully so you know what’s expected of you.
When you’re ready to move into your new home, you will typically be required to pay one month’s rent in advance. In addition, you would need to pay for a security deposit which is equivalent to two month’s rent, but this will be returned once your tenancy agreement expires.
AsiaXpat and GeoExpat are great websites which are focused on helping foreigners find a place to live. GoHome is another option to consider with plenty of listings for almost every neighbourhood in Hong Kong. If you’re open to sharing a room, EasyRoommate is a good place to start scouting around.
Getting Around in Hong Kong
One of the best things about this city is the great access to public transport and how efficient it is. No matter where you live, you’re going to find it relatively easy to get around. However, if convenience is your main priority when looking for a place to rent, opt for apartments which are located close to MRT stations.
To figure out the distance between your home and your workplace, Train Trip Planner is great for keeping track of the time. The planner is available on the MRT’s website. Since the upscale residences tend to be located on hills, these would make them further away from MRT locations. There are regular public and private buses running through these parts and to the city though, so transportation is still not an issue. If you’re living in the Mid-Levels for example, you have the option of getting around using the Mid-Levels Escalator.