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LOCATION ADVICE - General guidance

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    Cool LOCATION ADVICE - General guidance

    Hi Everyone

    I am moving to HK in mid March for a new role in Central with a bank (1 month serviced apartment). I have read extensively this forum and I understand the the importance of being on the ground and not to rely too much on web portals for apartments.

    Hoping you kind helpful people with local expertise could give me some good tips on which areas to focus on. Aim is to have a shortlist for HK Day 1.

    My criteria

    Budget:
    Ideal Target 40k (working on a window of 35k to 45k)

    Size:
    2 beds, Me + Wife - both mid-30s + guest room - no kids at moment or on the ST horizon.
    Aiming for 90 sqm/900 sqft

    Location:
    Easy commute to work (i.e. 30min - MRT preference but not a must)
    She isn't working so I want a place that allows her to be out and about and join me easily in town. She is Japanese so potentially offers access to Japanese amenities would be a plus.

    Looking to get a dog which might be a key location factor.

    Lifestyle:
    We both looking for that "perfect combo" of quiet residential area with access to centre on a whim. In my mind that would be something with forest/mountain/sea view - not urban jungle. Home is a place to relax.

    For the former Londoners - I used to Live Notting Hill / Maida Vale type areas - they have a quiet village feel with nice local amenities, restaurants, not so hectic pace and close to Hyde Park for some green etc... Yet easy to get a little action on a whim by taking a cab/tube.

    The quiet / Mountain / sea view criteria has led me to focus on buildings which are on the edge of the city (sea front - Kennedy / Mountain view - top of mid levels facing peak) But then again I have no insight on those neighbourhoods. I saw a number of people recommend TKO and additionally Pokfulam/Happy Valley have come up often on my property web searches (not convinced about Pokfulam location and HV flats seem to offer more space for money so maybe there is a catch - see link further down)

    Style wise -
    modern clean unfussy
    (Bad taste seems to be the rigueur in many flats in HK with horrendous marble and 70s retro chick)

    I have found this agents website and these properties that give a good idea of what I am drawn to.

    Happy Valley Property:
    https://goo.gl/aFWevV

    Agent website:
    http://nest-property.com/

    Agent
    My company has shortlisted 3 agents for me to choose from: Savills, Colliers Home and Hong Kong Homes.
    + side discount on agent fee (25% only)
    - side maybe not the best agent on the ground/target area

    Any thoughts on which one you would chose?
    The forum often states to use agents with specific local area expertise.

    Thank you in advance!

    C


  2. #2

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    PFL and HV are not MTR accessible and hence cheaper. They are more dog friendly and nice. There are buses to get you where you need to go and taxis are affordable.

    Kennedy town will have smaller sidewalks and quite busy now with the MTR. It wouldn't be a good fit for me because I want space to walk dogs rather you'll have a hundred people to navigate. Doesn't sound fun to me.

    Those agents you mentioned will have horrible stock. Go to each area and find an agent there - pay the 1/2 month agents fee.

    PFL and HV likely need to make appointments in advance. The major MTR stations are ready for walk-ins.

    You will need 3.5 months rent in HK to secure an apartment. So be prepared for that.


  3. #3

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    You might save a little more on the agents fee but likely those monthly rents are higher.


  4. #4

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    Feb 2018
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    Thanks -

    I was afraid that these agents would be below par but good to know that net net the "saving might be fake" on a real term basis.

    So premium for MRT locations (to be expected) explains the main price detla. I can live with that.

    Thanks @MandM!


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    19,578
    Quote Originally Posted by Redentore
    Thanks -

    I was afraid that these agents would be below par but good to know that net net the "saving might be fake" on a real term basis.

    So premium for MRT locations (to be expected) explains the main price detla. I can live with that.

    Thanks @MandM!
    I think the advice given from M&M is poor - don't avoid the corporate agents - they provide a good service & as you are not paying for it you might as well avail yourself of it. Typically they'll shuttle you round in a car and take a lot of the hassle out of apartment hunting. They also work with local agents so will have access to all the same properties. We used one of these agencies and very happy with their service - it's much better than you'll get with local agents.

    We arrived in HK in a very similar situation to you - 30's, no kids, Japanese wife, similar budget. It's a real eye-opener coming from Japan (or the UK) when you realize exactly how shit HK apartments are in comparison. Be prepared for a long search & use the company provided agents.

    Happy Valley would be the place I would look with your requirements - the only downside is the commute isn't great as it involves minibuses/buses and crowded roads.

  6. #6

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    I agree with both TheBrit and MandM on this - use both the street level agents and also the corporate ones. Trust but verify. Keep in mind that you cannot rent something that agent A has shown you, through agent B.

    Pok Fu Lam is not all that bad. We've lived here for 16 years and a 1000 sq ft high efficiency (95%) flat (pet friendly) with access to a swimming pool, shuttles to Kennedy Town / mini buses to the to MTR / Central costs around $35-38K with a car park. Look for Upper Baguio Villas. Good schools around us. Unfortunately, not a lot of inventory around for renters.

    Happy Valley is a bit more central...

    Kennedy Town - its ok, but I tend to think its a bit crowded and certainly less "suburban" if there is such a think in HK.

    You'll also find some gems along Kennedy Road (older apartments / no facilities but plenty of space) and other areas. Here's where the corporate agents will come in handy, while they have lower "hyper local" inventory, they cover larger areas and are more in tune with what someone coming in from overseas with a family might want.

    HKSGHK likes this.

  7. #7
    Mat
    Mat is offline

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    Re HV transport issue - it's a bit of a myth to be honest. Most ppl I know living there don't have an issue at all.

    You have got plenty of transport available to Central (Bus, Tram, minibuses, Taxis) and at the end of the day a taxi ride is just cheap so plenty of ppl just cab. Yes it has a "small" cost but really it isn't much (I mean if you have a 45k budget for a flat, I assume your salary isn't 10k so that shouldn't be a problem,

    With your requirement - strongly suggest Happy Valley indeed.

    shri and SalseroHK like this.

  8. #8

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    If you want to be in a more Central location with restaurants and shopping at you fingertips and places to walk to then HV is probably better. If you want a bit more airy, sea views, a little bit more quiet and out of the way with easier access to beaches then PFL will suit you. Either way, the commute to Central will be similar. You could also look into Shiu Fai Terrace or even Kennedy Rd which is near Happy Valley, it's quite leafy and right next to Bowen Rd and other walking tracks which are popular for dog walkers. It's slightly closer to Central and walking distance to Causeway Bay and Wanchai. You don't get the neighborhood feel of Happy Valley but it's also a bit more quiet and out of the way.

    shri likes this.

  9. #9

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    If your wife wants to feel at home, you can check out Whampoa. I went to the AON supermarket there recently and felt like i had gone to Japan. Lots of Japanese products and they even have a small food court just like the department stores in Japan. I think there is a big Japanese community there.

    Its connected to the MTR as well though you will need to change trains once. Whampoa and Central are both at the end of the lines so won't be too bad getting on at rush hours.

    Its mostly residential so fairly relaxed compared to most places in HK. And just a few stops away from real busy city centres like Mongkok and Tsim Sha Tsui.


  10. #10

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    Hung Hom, Tai Koo Shing and Kowloon station are the three areas with the biggest concentrations of Japanese expats IMHO. None of them meet the requirements listed by the OP though.


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