Moving to Hong Kong from US

Reply
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
  1. #1
    bwc
    bwc is offline

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    39

    Moving to Kong Kong from US

    My husband and I are moving to Hong Kong in the next couple of months. I have been doing quite a bit of research but have some additional questions with which I could use some help...

    Our housing allowance is $35k/month. Seeing as we do not have any children I would consider this pretty good from what we have seen, but we do have a ton of furniture. We plan to be there 3-5 years so I want to make sure to bring what I can. While we want to be central to shops, nightlife, etc., we also enjoy nature and peace and quiet. Any recommendations on neighborhoods? Will this get us a nice place? (I am kind of picky)

    Also which American appliances should I leave at home?

    Is it worth buying a car? Are they really expensive there?

    Thanks.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    ???
    Posts
    29,117

    BWC,

    Use http://www.gohome.com.hk for housing research. They offer plenty of choices in the range that you're looking at. (Do keep in mind that you have to pay management fees and govt taxes -- rates -- on the flat so you should be looking at about $28K / month in rental and about 3 to 4K / month in management and rates).

    As far as locations go, the Americans with families tend to prefer the south side -- Repulse Bay / Stanley / Park View etc. I personally think those locations are a bit too isolated. Good places include Mid Levels, Discovery Bay, Pokfulam (Victoria Road) ...

    Best strategy is to get a serviced apartment in town and look around or arrive early and look around.

    Bringing furniture is questionable. Your apartment will be much smaller than your living space in the US and the climate is much more humid these are factors you'd need to take into account to ensure that your furniture fits and it does not fall apart in the humidity.

    Cars... you should take a look at this article written by Mr Tall before you go out and buy a car. http://www.batgung.com/articles/cars.htm

    I'd recommend taking a look at http://www.batgung.com/articles/dailylife.htm and http://www.bigwhiteguy.com for more anecdotal advice on living in Hong Kong.

    Take a look at the Awa's website ( http://www.awa.org.hk ) they're a great social and volunteer group to get involved with when you get here.


  3. #3
    bwc
    bwc is offline

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    39

    Thanks

    Thank you! That information will be very helpful. Would you recommend we do not bring American appliances? I imagine most of them will not work.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    ???
    Posts
    29,117

    Hong Kong works on 220V and the television is mostly PAL. Most people I know prefer to sell their appliances and get them upgraded while here (most of what you can buy here is multi-system / multi-voltage).

    Also, storage is cheaper in the US and you're not going to be able to sell your stuff here in the second hand market that easily.

    Larger appliances are included with the apartment or can be negotiated with the lease.


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    28

    My parents live in Heng Fa Chuen which has a nice ocean view, Star Buck, tons of parking lots and VERY CLOSE to metro should you need it.

    Well, new cars are extremely expensive in HK as the tariff is simply CRAZY. The gas is also 3-5 times the price of US. Cars also errode easily as the place is pretty humid.

    Speaking for North Americans, I would say you will have a very difficult time adjusting to driving behaviour in HK. Drivers there are absolutely insane, especially the taxi and bus drivers. Well, unless you are from Las Vegas where drivers are pretty much the same crazy folks as ones in HK.

    Suffice to say, I would stick to MTR or hire a driver... if you have such allowance as well.

    If you are live too 'close to nature', then transportation is going to be a pain. As Shri has pointed out, southern HK island is 'pretty isolated' - meaning MTR doesn't reach there.

    $35k is going to get you a very decent place... especially you are going to rent the place. There's ongoing deflation in HK for over 56 months now. Rent/mortage is more managable for most natives.

    Oh one more thing...
    Here's a route map of current MTR.
    http://www.mtr.com.hk/jplanner/images/maps/mtr_map2.jpg
    (See the southern HK island is not covered by MTR.)


  6. #6
    bwc
    bwc is offline

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    39

    Thanks shri and irock

    Thank you for the quick replies. I find this forum extremely helpful. More questions to come....


  7. #7
    BVe
    BVe is offline

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Discovery Bay
    Posts
    4

    Another thing that is worth considering is where you and / or your husband will be working, in order to gauge travel ease to office.

    For example, we live in Discovery Bay, which is a quite pleasant ferry ride to Central if you need to be there, but which is a slightly longer commute if you need to be Kowloon side (having said that, we still do it.)

    Also, while I take it you don't yet have children, within a 3-5 year timetable you might. And if you end up staying for longer (our "3-5" has turned into 6.5 and counting, and we still say "3-5" from now!), then the availability of good local international kindergartens/schools might become a factor.

    Further, do you travel a lot for work by air? DB is an ideal 20min door to door coach ride to CLK, whereas Stanley/Repulse Bay is quite a hike. For us, that's a big factor - proximity to airport.

    After that it becomes a cost-beneift analysis: we value peace and a bit of "green space" and outlook, so we chose DB. That puts us half an hour by ferry from Central, but that's close enough in our value equation. Stanley/Repulse Bay are also half an hour from Central. Mid-Levels is in the middle of everything, but green space, not so much. (these are broad personal opinions, but you get the idea) Do get someone to take you to all these places, no matter what their opinions are. When you're trying to settle for a few years, you deserve to know options.

    Having just recently been in the rental market again myself, 35k would get you a garden apartment (inclusive of government rates and management fee) in DB; or a large duplex (2100 sq ft) if gardens aren't your thing. We find the return we get on our rental $ is a little more out here: offsets the commute for us. You'll find personal outdoor space generally hard to come by in apartments - if that's a thing for you, make sure you are very clear on your needs with the agents you use. A "balcony" is often a 3 x 3 ft standing space only, if one exists at all.

    You can negotiate rates and management fees to be built into your rental (quite standard, called "inclusive") - this can maximise the value of your company allowance. I've known some fortunate people who happily find their housing allowances large enough that they can rent a place they're happy with, inclusive, and still have allowance left over, so also negotiate with the landlord for additional things to be built in to the rent (e.g. in DB, a golf cart for transport as cars aren't allowed, or monthly residents' club fees).

    Appliances: we're Australian, so our voltage is more comparable with here, but even given that, we didn't bring any large appliances. You'll find mant decent apartments have washer and dryer built in, and often a fridge/freezer. I did bring all my small kitchen appliances (love to cook) and they work fine. TVs/hi-fi equipment etc., it really is an opportunity to upgrade here.

    Furniture: like you, I wanted to be comfortable, and brought quite a bit with me, which I don't regret at all. But be a bit clever about it: e.g. we ditched old dining room furniture that we were tired of (you can get wonderful quality made to our own design here) but brought our modern Italian sofas - however, it is modular, which we knew would be ideal for fitting into different size apartments! (We've been in two different places so far.) The good ol' 2 seater + 3-seater won't work everywhere, but if you can make it a 2+2 + 1, it's fine.

    Hope those additional perspectives give food for thought - good luck with it!


  8. #8
    bwc
    bwc is offline

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    39

    To: BVe

    Thank you for your feedback. My husband will be working in Central. I will not be working for a bit until I figure out working permit stuff. It seems there are a few apartments in Central that have nice views of the mountains. That is fine for me because I still want to be near the "action" (I fear me not working for a while while my husband works incessantly will drive me mad in a place that is too quiet/remote). Is DB like that? Did you live in Central when you first arrived?

    The furniture tip helps a great deal. We will use this as an opportunity to get rid of some of the hand-me-downs we never really favored anyway.

    By the way, how long is the flight from HK to Sydney. Do you know? I used to leave in Sydney and am dying to go visit some old friends.

    Thanks again all. This is very helpful.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    28

    You see, Central is the financial center of HK where you probably won't find any apartment as I recall. (God, i still remember crowds rushing for work from all over. Someone can fill me in as to how dense the population is in that city.)

    Though there's some really nice & expensive apartment if you go up hill near Central. But that can set you back over $35k.

    Quite frankly, there isn't any 'breathable' air there. It's actually a place I would avoid going unless you have to go for work.

    Since you're going to be the 'house wife' for a while, you may want to visit all the boutiques in Central as well. You will find tons there.

    BVe,

    where's discovery bay anyway?


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Back in Toronto now - after 10 1/2 years in HK
    Posts
    927

    ...even without gobbling up another continent which no longer wants to be so gobbled!


Reply
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast