Help me spend my expat package!

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    5

    Question Help me spend my expat package!

    Actually the title is a bit misleading, since I don't know exactly what (if any) deal I'm going to get yet. ... but I do need help.

    Currently, I live in London, but there's a very good chance I'll be asked to relocate to Hong Kong in the next few months, for a 2 to 3 year placement.

    My company's offices are in Central (think Bank of China, HSBC, Citibank, ICBC area), and I'm trying to get a good idea of where might be good areas to start looking at apartments.

    Some relevant facts:

    • I'm single, and currently live in a 700sq ft, two bedroom apartment in London (in a relatively new building, but not a great area);
    • The lower-bound on my budget is HKD 30K per month, that's based on what I currently pay here in London and the difference in the tax rates - how much more than that depends a lot on what kind relocation package my company offers, 30K is just a totally comfortable minimum;
    • I don't want much of a commute, and really preferably not one that includes a bus ride.


    I've read that it's really difficult to compare apartment sizes between HK and London since HK measurements are gross area, whereas in London they tend to be usable internal area. I'm really looking for a 1 or 2 bed place with similar useable area, preferably in a modern building.

    At a best-guess my housing budget is likely to be somewhere in the HKD 35K-45K range.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated: whether that is 'this building is great', or 'look at this area' etc.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Sai Kung
    Posts
    8,561

    dont' know what public transport is like in london, but i believe that HK has some of the best public transport in the world. get used to taking the bus...i'm sure about 90% of the population here do, and it is clean, cheap and efficient.

    try mid-levels for area, then you could get the escalator down in the morning instead of a bus and arrive at work nice and sweaty! (or maybe a taxi, although in morning rush hour you're probably faster walking)


  3. #3

    Hi,

    You should look at Midlevels - perhaps somewhere within walking distance to the escalator - possibly along Robinson Road or Caine Road or in the vicinity.

    Then you can escalate to work... (Only in Hong Kong...!)

    Even if you have to escalate and walk a bit to the MTR, it's not so bad.

    And you're so near Lan Kwai Fong then...of course, that's only good if you like to drink!

    There's also Wanchai...more seedier than Midlevels and only 2 stops on the MTR (tube) to Central. more drinking here...

    There are minibuses here which you hail in the street like a taxi - they can be very full during commute times though.

    Taxis are cheap - only thing out here that is - but again, can be hard to get during commute times and particularly if raining. (if you live in the 'central area', you should be able to get to your office for about GBP1.00.

    Walking to work is a great solution but not too far - as sooooo humid and usually very steep climb on the way home. Or...make sure you're within walking distance of the MTR. It really is extremely efficient.

    Suggest you do look at 1 bed - it will really open up what apartments you get to view. You can always get a sofabed for guests.

    Newer buildings are better...good AC, double paned windows...etc Get as high up in the building as you can if you're on a busy road.

    Good luck.
    T


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    5

    Well, I currently commute to work on a bus, so it's not that I'm opposed to public transport!

    I live about 3.5 miles from my office in London and (with the waiting time for the bus) it frequently takes me more than half an hour to get in during the rush hour, due to the traffic.

    Could be that the buses in HK are much, much better than the London ones from that point of view.


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Taikoo Shing
    Posts
    193

    when we were looking, we found it very hard to find 2 br places. you will probably have to go with a 3br and make the smallest one a closet (bedrooms here don't typically have a closet, at least the ones we saw) or look for a 1 br. we did manage to find a few in midlevels.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Midlevels ->Sai Ying Pun
    Posts
    428

    I'd suggest a place in the midlevels as well - basically you'd be looking at a 15 minute walk along the escalator (the world's longest, apparently!) to work, assuming that you work in central (basically the central business district).

    Also you would be 5 or 10 minutes walk away from soho (nice restaurant and bar district) and lan kwai fong (bar and nightclub district).

    From my previous experience apartment hunting, you should be able to find something that is at least 700 square feet in the area for 20+ (even places that are only a few years old). (PM me if you want more details of the exact deal I got). 30k+ should get you something even classier and roomier, although rumor has it that a lot of rents will be going up by quite a lot by the end of this year. Also sometimes the way they calculate how many feet a place is is a bit dodgy in HK because they include shared apartment areas.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Sai Kung
    Posts
    8,561

    common misconception... the longest is actually in ocean park!


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    11

    Have a look at Midlevels appartments on www.hongkonghomes.com (for actual size take 65-75% of gross)


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    5

    Thanks for the advice everyone - the 65-75% figure for gross vs. usable space feels about right - the soi-disant 1,000 sq ft apartments that I've seen look about the same size as my place in London. On the other hand, most apartments in that size range are 3 bedrooms!

    I'll take a more detailed look at the Mid-levels and Wan Chai.