Cost of accommodation in UK - how much to spend?

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Cost of accommodation in UK - how much to spend?

    I'm considering moving from London to Hong Kong, and am a bit puzzled by the online research I've done into accommodation costs. I'm really struggling to find the HK equivalents of the different options on the London housing market that I'm familiar with -- would really appreciate some guidance!

    I am 32, married, with a few month old baby. I am a senior manager in a consulting firm (which is similar to the 'Big 4' accounting firms) and my salary in the UK is GBP110,000 per annum before tax (about GBP6,000 per month after tax).

    In London, for about GBP2,000 a month I can rent a 2 bedroom flat in a nice area close to central London (i.e. not right in central, but 15 mins away), or for the same cost I can rent a 3 bedroom house in a v pleasant suburb (45-60 mins commute from central London). If I'm willing to live in a 2 bedroom flat in a nice suburb, I can get this for only GBP1,000 per month.

    I'm assuming my net (after tax) salary in HK will be the same as in London. I wouldn't want to spend more than a third of my salary on accommodation (ideally a bit less) - this gives me a budget of GBP2,000 or HK$24,000 per month MAX.

    Ideally, I would like to live in a 3 bedroom flat with a maid's room. I've looked at some HK apartment rentals websites online, and am not really seeing anything for less than HK35-40,000 per month -- and this seems to be the starting budget for something not particularly nice and with only 2 bedrooms.

    So I'm quite puzzled. Do people doing the same jobs in HK earn more than in London? (I thought it was about the same). Or do they spend a higher % of their income on housing? Or do they just have a lower standard of living (in terms of housing) than London? Or do most companies cover accommodation costs on top of salary -- I got the impression that was rare these days?

    Or am I just looking at the wrong websites which are only showing me relatively expensive apartments?

    In terms of areas, I have been looking at either mid levels (because it's close to Central, where my company is based, and I don't want a long commute), or as an alternative on the south side of HK island (Stanley, Repulse Bay) because they sound like nice places to live which are a little further but still not too far from the city. Are these reasonable places to look in, or do I need to look further out, outside HK island to find somewhere nice to live within my budget?

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give!


  2. #2

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    Jun 2011
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    PS. the title of that post is a bit misleading -- I meant to write 'Cost of accommodation in HK'!


  3. #3

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    Hi,

    A fellow brit here, quick reply.

    1) tax is significantly lower than UK and no VAT so u will have more income, plus u only pay tax on an annual basis instead of PAYE.
    2) rent in HK is sky high at the moment, maybe you should live in a service apartment for a month while you settle and have time to feel around HK.
    3) London wages are higher but hours are insane in HK.
    4) budget for 3 bedroom in nice expat cliche area will probably cost 40-50k.

    Last edited by WMDS; 12-06-2011 at 04:42 PM.

  4. #4

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    Stay away from HK island if you want better value for money.


  5. #5

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    BAsically either you get an (increasingly rare) expat package that pays you a silly housing allowance or you learn to live in something smaller or more remote.

    But unless you are taking a big gross salary cut to come here your net salary will be MUCH higher here. Tax is capped at 15%; MPF (the NI equivalent) is HK$1,000 per month (and if you continue to pay into a company pension elsewhere then you are exempt from MPF).

    If you earn 110,000 per year (say HK$1,350,000 per year) then you net income as a married man (wife not working) with one dependant child would be about HK$98,000 per month, so you should be happy spending, say, HK$32,000 per month on your apartment.

    Salaries Tax Computation

    Southside (Repulse Bay, Stanley etc) is only really for gambling bankers and their ilk, and the commute can be long (and unpredictable). There are many areas of Kowloon (and even some in the New Territories) which are a shorter and more reliable commute to Central than there.

    Last edited by PDLM; 12-06-2011 at 04:50 PM.

  6. #6

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    Accommodation here is much more expensive than London, that's the long and short of it. Be prepares for a depressing experience when you come to look at apartments here.


  7. #7

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    I've been asked what the London equivalent of Mid levels is?

    I always thought of it as Chelsea/sloane square. Trendyish bars/cafes, not far from harvey Nichols... property prices probably similar...


  8. #8

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    I think you'd be hard-pushed to get from Sloane Square to the square mile in less than 10 minutes on foot!


  9. #9

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    There is no equivalent place to Chelsea in Hong Kong really. Equally I don't think there is a mid-Levels in London. The tiny, poorly constructed high rises are closer in quality to Hackney council flats than South Ken residences... But here there is little street crime and the blocks have their own little gyms, pools and staff.


  10. #10

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    In HK you make some choices. You live closer to work, in a decent place and pay a fortune. You live close in a small place and pay lot. You live far away in a decent place and pay a reasonable amount. You live far away in a small place and it's pretty cheap. You have to decide which factor is more important - size, location or money. Personally, I went for size and money - I live in a big place far away. I am happy with a 30-40 minute commute (plus walking time at each end) to get a 4 bed 3 bath boat with a quality kitchen/bathrooms / open plan living area and outdoor space for the equivalent of about 30k a month (since I purchased the boat rather than renting, it's hard to compare).