Hong Kong isn’t that far from Australia (if you can say that Australia is close to anywhere, that is). As the crow flies, it’s a little over 5,700km to the centre of the expanse of land that makes up Oz, but they are in different hemispheres.
And the comparisons don’t stop there, because there are some dramatic differences between the cost of living in the two countries. OK, we know that Hong Kong isn’t officially a country – it’s a Special Administrative Region of China. This means that it has its own laws and currency.
But we digress, as what we want to talk about is the difference between living in the two countries. We’ve taken data from two of the most up to date websites that collate such information through crowd sourcing from people who actually live there – Numbeo and Expatistan. The figures that we’ve quoted are relevant as of February 2016.
Property in such a crowded city as Hong Kong is always going to be expensive – and that’s both to rent or purchase. This is prime real estate territory, which is why there’s so many highrise buildings. When you run out land space, the only choice you have is to build upwards…
For anyone looking to rent an apartment in the city centre of Hong Kong, you’ll need to shell out 71-124% more than for a comparable property in one of Australia’s cities. Even outside of the city centre, the price differences are fairly similar – expect to pay between 63-114% more.
And when it comes to purchasing, the divide becomes even greater – with property in Hong Kong fetching 300-343% more than something comparable in Oz. But one thing that does make a difference is the interest rate you’ll pay on the average mortgage, because in Australia this is currently around 4.87%.
In Hong Kong it’s 2.5% – a huge difference when it comes to paying back a loan as large as one you’ll generally borrow to purchase a property.
When it comes to heating, electricity, water, council taxes, and garbage charges, the cost in Hong Kong is roughly double that of Australia. But in the technologically obsessed city of Hong Kong, the cost of wiring Internet into your home will cost you half the price it does in Australia, and in a similar vein, your mobile phone tariff will cost you far less as well, by a massive 88%.
Hong Kong scores well on the public transport front. The hugely efficient MTR (metro, trains, trams, and buses) costs around 37% less for a monthly pass, as opposed to a similar service in one of the Australian cities. Using a taxi is also cheaper in Hong Kong by around 32%.
However, if you’re thinking of driving your own car, petrol costs in Hong Kong are far dearer – by around 97%, and it’ll cost you more to purchase a car as well. An average small/medium sized VW car, purchased new, will set you back around 70% more here than in Australia.
Ah – the joys of grocery shopping! It’s an arduous chore wherever you may be in the world, but what does change is the cost – and when comparing Hong Kong and Australia, with a few small exceptions, the Land Down Under is far less stressful on your wallet.
For example, a litre of milk in Hong Kong will cost you a crazy 160% more than in Oz. Cheese is an unbelievable 230% more and beef around 95% more expensive.
Rice and eggs are cheaper in Hong Kong by around 4%, but most fruit and vegetables are dearer than Australia, by 1-25%. However, there are some notable exceptions: tomatoes, bananas, and lettuce are cheaper in Hong Kong by 10-35%.
We all love treating ourselves to the odd meal out, don’t we? After all, you work hard enough to attain the lifestyle that you enjoy, so there has to be some rewards. And who doesn’t enjoy the yumminess of a cappuccino or latte at some point during the working day?
While the latter will cost you double the amount in Hong Kong, this is more than made up for when it comes to the cost of eating in a restaurant. You’ll pay between 30-50% less dining out here.
And if you’re a fast food addict, then your Big Mac Meal will cost around 42% less than in Oz.
Going to the movies is slightly cheaper in Hong Kong by approximately 10%, but there’s a chasm between the price you’ll pay in either location for a monthly gym membership. The fitness obsessed Aussies have far more reasonably priced gyms – a massive 74% less than those in Hong Kong.
Of course, the cost of living has to be balanced by the salary you can expect to earn in the city you live, and surprisingly, considering the difference between Hong Kong and Australia when it comes to essential spending, the average salary you can expect to earn in either location is very similar.
In fact, the average Hong Kong wage is just shy of 3% less than that in Australia.
Of course, the industry in which you work will have a large bearing on the salary you can expect to take home. Payscale.com gives an excellent guide to the amount you can expect to earn in both Australia and Hong Kong in various different employment fields – and at different levels.
They make the search easier by being able to upload your CV and register for job alerts. And don’t forget to use the business networking website LinkedIn to grow your connections and aid your job search.