Expat cost of living

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  1. #1

    Expat cost of living

    Trying to decide whether to relocate our family from UK to HK and tips for negotiating package/salary with husbands employer (investment bank). Have never even been to HK so pretty much in the dark. How much would rental on a nice, reasonably spacious 3 or 4 bed apartment, (Repulse Bay , Stanley or similar) with facilities such as pool , playground etc, close to beach. What kind of expense would we also need to factor in if we wanted a helper, or car? Similarly what kind of fees would preschools entail? Is it unrealistic to expect an employer to offer this as an expat package - if not - how much would this cost yourselves?
    Any advice gratefully recieved!


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    have you done a search on here about cost of living. this question has been asked many, many times.

    good luck!


  3. #3

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    on the road again
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    3 bedroom appartment in repulse bay or south bay : around 70-80K
    you can have a look at these real estate websites
    http://www.hongkonghomes.com/hong_ko.../eng/for_rent/
    http://www.landmarkasia.com.hk/
    http://www.habitat-property.com/
    http://www.proway.com.hk/properties_...epulse_bay.htm

    I think a helper is about 1K a week

    Used cars are very cheap. The utter most you'll pay is 80K

    Here is the website of a well known and popular preschool in HK. They have a branch in Repulse Bay http://www.woodlandschools.com/Landing.php
    For a full day of preschool (8.30 to 2.30) it's 8900$ a month.

    You can try and negociate all this in your package, it really varies, some people have nothing in their, some have everything, some in between, it's all about the negociation and the kind of work you do. Some people prefer not to have all this in their package but to have higher salaries....

    Electricity is about 1K a month, and the most expensive thing here, if you eat expat and not local, is the food. Foreign foods, organic foods are very expensive.

    Last edited by ontheroad; 10-01-2007 at 08:39 PM.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Back in Toronto now - after 10 1/2 years in HK
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    947

    For that kind of apt electricity could run between HKD 2K and 4K depending on usage of aircon, central heating or just heaters, and whether it's gas or electricity powering water heater, etc. etc.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    130

    It may help you to point out that nearly everything in HK is cheaper than living in Kensington or Holland park etc.

    I.e. it will be cheaper to live here hands down esp since you will no doubt get allowances.

    I was n an expat package in London until recently and am now on one in HK and they give me 50 percent more cash in HK - shhh dont tell

    On average I'd say:

    Housing - maybe 10 percent more than west end london
    Utilites - cable/gas/power/telephone/broadband - much less / unit - you will use more power though
    Transportation - taxis - cost about 1/3 what they do in London
    Food - if you shop for western food perhaps the same, a bit less
    Going out drinking - much less
    going out to restaurants (western) - about the same, not more definitely
    Clothing - tailored = much much less, shopping at the gap or at a high street store name - maybe a little more but with massive sales so in essence less. All the IFC mall sales have retarded sales on now.
    Schools - couldnt comment - but your company might pitch in - if you are private in london I bet it will be cheaper

    You get the feeling in HK you arent being ripped off whereas every time i spent money in london i felt violated.

    Customer service levels - Off the charts vs London - everyone here is friendly, respectful and nice (so far) and soooo helpful.

    Dry Cleaners - 1/2 the cost at most

    DH - well lets just say its immensely cheaper - I pay the same as I did in London but instead of coming once per week she comes every day.

    Weather - much better thus far

    barring nearness to family and friends HK kicks london's arse in every way except I cant watch my Spurs.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    I disagree on the drinking thing, unless you're drinking in the met bar every night then alcohol in HK is more expensive than England (in Asia generally it is expensive, at least in Singapore and Tokyo), it's the one advantage of us being a nation of alcoholics. A lot of places in HK have a happy hour but once happy hour is over, usually by 9 or 10 at the latest, then booze is pricey and prices quite often double from earlier.

    Everything else is cheaper here though, and I'd say taxis in particular are more than 1/3 cheaper, more like 1/4 or 1/5. Buses are cheap too, my bus to work costs me $3.4 (roughly 25p) and I believe the minimum for buses is £1.20 in London now.

    What's a retarded sale by the way?


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    48

    facts

    Well, I lived in Kensington. I have to say the accommodation cost here is probably similar to the UK (judging from the letting income we get from renting out our flat in Kensington). Do not expect the finish or size of the apartment here to be as good as London.

    I would definitely come here to visit even just for a few days. It will be worth it to see what it’s like. My husband hated it at first and if they didn’t pay him so much, he wouldn't be here after 4 months.

    Consider your wife lifestyle also. If she’s used to have her own career back in the UK, she might be frustrated here and feel worthless sometime (like me). After 4 months, Hong Kong is a small place to live. I would come here with your wife, if I were you. And try to imagine what's it like to live here. To put it lightly, they have a different standard of manners here. I am saying this in a very factual way, not at all racist or snobbish way. Their manners can annoy you on the daily basis to the point that no amount of money can compensate that.

    On the bright side, it is cheaper to eat out (not sure about the quality of food though) and to shop. Again they have either the top range brands or the street market no-brand, not a lot of in between such as Gap, Top Shop.

    Hygiene will become almost your daily concern, unlike when you live in London. You think about it in the MTR, on the street, supermarket etc. I also find supermarket food packaging here is not very good. On some day I find that I get an upset stomach from eating food from the local supermarket. The more international supermarkets mark up the price to about the same as the UK, so not a lot of saving there.

    I'm not sure whether it is better to be here if you already have a good life in the UK. But if you think you will come here only for a couple of years to advanced your career and go back, then it should be alright.

    Oh, if you wear contact lens, be preparing not to be able to wear them in Hong Kong and prepare a nice pair of glasses to wear. Your eyes will become dry to the point hat you may not be able wear contact lens for a long while.

    I know it sounds really negative here but I think it is something you need to consider before moving here. You might not mind what I mentioned above at all.

    It’s more fun to be in Hong Kong than the UK. It’s more civilised to be in the UK than Hong Kong. English are more open minded than Hong Konger. Professionals are more professional in the UK. You can trust that your employer will not do anything which against human rights or employee’s rights in the UK which is quite a reassuring thing. It’s quite a lonely place to be here if you just can not get along well with your colleagues. One more thing, from the people I know here and my husband’s company, be prepared to be the white western minority in your company. You will feel like an outsider.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    48

    Smile Spurs

    animalmom, you do know they hav e bar in Wan Chai for Spurs fans right? I can tell you the address and website you want to go to if you want to join the club.


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    130

    'Their manners can annoy you on the daily basis to the point that no amount of money can compensate that.
    '

    I'm curious as to what you mean? People in HK seem much more friendly and customer service is much better here than in London in my experience, but admittedly I live in a bubble here.


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