Loki, it would be a good idea to visit said locations.
You'll notice rather dramatic differences in the vibes of each area that have been explained already.
Depending on what your lifestyle requirments are, will be largely determined by your housing allowance.
If you are trying to keep your budget to between $7000 - $10,000 per month, still have a nice view without buildings blocking it, and a stones throw from all manner of out door activities, such as sailing, bush walking, BBQ's, horse riding in our case as Tai lam is close to us, then you can check out these affordable low density expat neighbourhoods below.
- Yuen Long, a very very local area, not expat oriented at all, very good bus service to central, though, doesnt usually take longer 40 minutes.
- Sheung Shui, as above, but use the MTR and switch at Kowloon Tong or Mong Kok to get to the Island line.
- Clearwater bay nearest to the Hang Hau MTR
- Sai Kung - Hebe Haven, Tai Wan Village.
- Lamma might be fun for some, a tad insular and a bit cut off, might not suit those who are not of the Bohemian ilk. Its Hong Kong's version of Tasmania
- Discovery Bay, ideally the most practical outer area for Central commuters and airline staff, but the ferry is more costly, but its 24/7, and much cheaper than cabs.
- Park island, another unique outer NT spot, good ferry access to Central, very resort style, in a very HK interpretation of what resort style is..
- The Gold Coast - Siu Lam and Sham Tseng area, handy for airline staff, but you'll need to mainly bus it or bus it and MTR train it it to Central, depending on your distance from either Tuen Mun or Tsuen Wan MTR's.
All of the above area's provide affordable spacious housing ( 760ft² - 1180ft²), all are expat friendly area's, for the exception of Sheung Shui and Yuen Long ( Good for those willing to fully immerse themselves and learn cantonese ) most aimed at the adventurous expat urbanite.
If you are into clubbing every night and getting smashed at bars, then the outer area's mentioned above may not be all that appealing to you.
Remember also that most locations of HK are not much further than 45 minutes cab ride from any direction, Hong Kong is one of the smallest cities in the world @ 1000km² Area. I can drive from Shouson Hill to Sheung Shui ( the Border ) in an hour, thats basically one end to the other, to give you a bit of distance perspective.