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Accomodation advice needed

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    41

    Accomodation advice needed

    Hello Everyone,

    After spending several week's scouring these forums, I have finally worked up the courage to join and make my first post here (alternatively, you could say that I got my lazy ass around to joining). Anyway, long story short, I just recently moved to Hong Kong for a two year assignment with my company. I am going through the rather scary task of finding a place now. I'm living in a serviced apartment for about a month before I need to move so I have a bit of time. So my office here is close to the Kowloon Bay MTR station and I was looking for places that might be suitable. My wife will be joining in a few weeks time as well and may end up working in Central so it's equally important to keep travel times from Kowloon Bay and Central to a reasonable minimum.

    My budget right now is between 18-20K and I would prefer an apartment size between 700-1000 sqft. I would prefer to have fewer bedrooms in order to have a more open feel in the apartment, although there seems to be a crazy architectural trend of creating rooms for the sheer heck of it. Any suggestions would be highly appreciated from some of the resident experts.

    I had an encounter with one of the real estate agents today for some apartments in the Tseung Kwan O area and she painted quite a grim picture that there are hardly any properties available and the prices are sky-rocketing. Now I know that that's part of their repertoire in order to get the client to hurry and sign on but is that really the case? Also, are my expectations too much for my budget and I need to rethink the whole thing with regards to areas, apartment sizes, et al?

    I have lived in New York in the past and know how difficult it can be to get a decent place but this city seems to be taking it to a whole new level.

    Look forward to input from the gurus on the forum here and thank you in advance for taking the time to respond


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Los Angeles
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    941

    Let me just say I am new to Hong Kong and am in no way an expert on local real estate. But from what I have heard, you can get a 3-bedroom flat in Mid-levels for $20k. That is from someone who is a local and knows the language and has plenty of inside knowledge. I don't know if an agent showed him that, or if his relatives hooked him up, or if he had some other connection. But I suspect you can get a great place for your budget, if you don't succumb to the pressure of local realtors and just be patient.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    4,835

    Maybe, but it would be 3 bedrooms in about 600 sq.ft which is not what the op is after!

    carang likes this.

  4. #4
    Mat
    Mat is offline

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    Jun 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by eterrestrial32
    Hello Everyone,

    After spending several week's scouring these forums, I have finally worked up the courage to join and make my first post here (alternatively, you could say that I got my lazy ass around to joining). Anyway, long story short, I just recently moved to Hong Kong for a two year assignment with my company. I am going through the rather scary task of finding a place now. I'm living in a serviced apartment for about a month before I need to move so I have a bit of time. So my office here is close to the Kowloon Bay MTR station and I was looking for places that might be suitable. My wife will be joining in a few weeks time as well and may end up working in Central so it's equally important to keep travel times from Kowloon Bay and Central to a reasonable minimum.

    My budget right now is between 18-20K and I would prefer an apartment size between 700-1000 sqft. I would prefer to have fewer bedrooms in order to have a more open feel in the apartment, although there seems to be a crazy architectural trend of creating rooms for the sheer heck of it. Any suggestions would be highly appreciated from some of the resident experts.

    I had an encounter with one of the real estate agents today for some apartments in the Tseung Kwan O area and she painted quite a grim picture that there are hardly any properties available and the prices are sky-rocketing. Now I know that that's part of their repertoire in order to get the client to hurry and sign on but is that really the case? Also, are my expectations too much for my budget and I need to rethink the whole thing with regards to areas, apartment sizes, et al?

    I have lived in New York in the past and know how difficult it can be to get a decent place but this city seems to be taking it to a whole new level.

    Look forward to input from the gurus on the forum here and thank you in advance for taking the time to respond
    Look at places like HungHom for example.

    1000sqf you won't find for 20k but you can get a 700sqf for between 16/20k at places like Laguna Verde...it's about 30mn to central and a tad less to Kowloon Bay.

    I am not a fan of Tseun Kwan O but for sure you can get +700 for ur budget there.

    Rooms: for a 700 you will almost always have 2 Bedrooms, over 800 you are likely to get 3.

    re Midlevels: Not convenient if you work in Kowloon Bay and you can get much more space in other more convenient ares.
    carang likes this.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    7,446

    Trying to get an 'open feel' apartment in HK is very difficult in the locations you are talking about and with the budget in mind. Especially around Kowloon.

    Hung Hom is probably a good option as mentioned and not too difficult to get to Central and also you getting to Kowloon Bay. Though it does't have the MTR yet (in 1-2 years I think) so a little bit difficult but there are buses that go direct to HK but not sure which numbers.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    284
    Quote Originally Posted by virago
    Trying to get an 'open feel' apartment in HK is very difficult in the locations you are talking about and with the budget in mind. Especially around Kowloon.

    Hung Hom is probably a good option as mentioned and not too difficult to get to Central and also you getting to Kowloon Bay. Though it does't have the MTR yet (in 1-2 years I think) so a little bit difficult but there are buses that go direct to HK but not sure which numbers.
    This is certainly true of the newer estate apartments, but last year when I was looking for places with nearly the same budget, I was often shocked at how many of the older tenement style buildings had real gems in there. I looked at one half a block from Nathan by the corner of Austin that was a newly renovated duplex with an airy kitchen/dining on the first level and a bigger living area on the landing in the second level, which was surrounded by three larger bedrooms (two ensuite). The only reason we didn't take it was it was 16th floor and the elevator only went to 15, and we had a stroller bound kid and toddler to think of. I saw others that weren't quite as impressive in the same budget, but still more open-plan than the estates. If you don't mind arrangements like that I am sure you can find something.
    virago likes this.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    41

    Well, I would need to figure it out before mid-October so I have a bit of leeway, just not too much. AS far as the bedrooms go, I find the concept a bit misleading since some of them aren't even big enough to get a single bed in there. Then again, I have had limited viewings thus far so my opinion might be a bit biased.

    Living in the Mid-levels is not really a priority since we don't plan on going out during the week as such. During the weekends, it's ok to make the trip so no issues there. The only reason I'm a bit skittish about the Hunghom/Kowloon City area and favour Tseung Kwan O is that I'm not a big fan of traveling in buses and prefer to ride the rails any given day instead. Plus, Tseung Kwan O just seems a bit more calm compared to the rest of the places I've been. Having looked over google maps though, it does seem pretty convenient from Hunghom to both Kowloon Bay and Central. Might hit up a few agents to show me places around the area.

    I have also heard that older places tend to have better net area compared to the newer developments. If that is the case, are these places generally well maintained and do they have the usual electrical appliances (fridge/microwave/washing machine, etc.)?

    Fraxbo, the place you mentioned sounds pretty cool. Think it might be worthwhile to loosen up and check out some of the older buildings.


  8. #8

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    Apr 2005
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    why are you "skittish" about the buses? if you plan on living here any length of time, you're going to get on one sooner or later.

    personally, if i have the choice between a bus and the mtr, i will always choose the bus. i prefer to be able to look out the window and see where i'm going. it also gives a better sense of the lay of the land and what is out there.

    mirowaves are NOT usually supplied. they are dirt cheap to buy, so if you want one... buy one. don't look for it to be part of your flat. fridge ok... possibly washing machine... will have stove top "cooker" but most won't have a proper oven.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    41

    Guess you can call it a personal bias. Just find trains easier to navigate. Plus train stations are usually much more comfortable (and i'm using the term rather loosely) to wait for transport than standing around the roadside for a bus. Agreed though that sooner or later I'd need to utilize one.

    Not having a microwave is ok but yeah, being here for only two years, I wouldn't want to spend on buying a fridge and/or washing machine.

    By the way, is it prudent to live far out and drive to work instead? My office building offers monthly parking for 2K/month. I read on another thread here that apart from the cost of buying the car, you end up paying in excess of 15K or so for driving around. How's the traffic situation during rush hours here? If I stay on the Kowloon/N.T. side (hence avoiding tunnels), would it make sense to keep a cover and loving farther out? I'm a bit confused over this proposition so your input would be really valued.


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    rush hours are crazy. how long your commute would take would depend on where you live.

    where we live, we need a car. we only have buses every 30 minutes from 6:30am-9:30pm. we have a minibus from 6:30-6:30, too. that's it.

    we have a cheap (bought for $7000) 2001 volvo. as with used cars anywhere, you might get a gem or you could get a lemon. i have a feeling that this volvo we have now is a lemon. we've had it for a month and already needed to replace the gas pump. i wasn't/am not impressed with where we bought it from.... it costs us about $800 to fill it up. we drive it daily and need to fill up approximately every 5 days or so. it costs $1000 for transfer of ownership, plus about $2000 for MOT (including repairs), insurance is $1500, but i bought extra coverage so that comes to about $3000 total. parking: we pay nothing where we live, but we probably spend $600-700/month parking around HK.

    our 7 passenger van costs over $1000 to fill up. on one tank i can get to hk island and back 3 times. so, it is a guzzler. tunnels can cost as little as $3 or as much as $50.

    i think for what you are going to pay for running a car, you would be better off living closer to work. we live where we do because we need to for business. it also provides the space we like for our kids.

    as a side note: when getting to know a new place, buses are far better than trains. you can see the shops/locations/road set up and be able to navigate around much faster than you do on the train. also, if you choose to live closer to the MTR, you will pay more. *obviously, there are pros and cons against both forms of transport. but don't discount buses so readily. they are often more convenient, if a little longer, than the train.

    z754103 and eterrestrial32 like this.

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