Wherever you go, property prices are perennially very high in Hong Kong and, unless you are sharing with one or two others, you can expect to be paying rental beginning around US$ 1,000 per month for a small apartment in an outer area, but more likely US$1,500; the only way after that is up and most foreigners (unless you are living in a relatively luxurious unit) seem to end up spending around US$2,000-2,500 per month on rent (don’t forget the other charges such as management fees, electricity costs and so on).
As a further guide to living costs, have a look at the Hong Kong Consumer Price Index, whilst other useful points of reference can be found by looking at some of the following sites:
- Property prices and rentals: Centaline Agency or Midland Realty or via the Society of Hong Kong Realtors
- Supermarkets: Wellcome Supermarket or Park’N’Shop Supermarket
- Transport costs: MTR, Star Ferry, Citybus
- Schooling: English Schools Foundation
- Maids: Domestic Helpers – who have a minimum wage requirements set by government
Of course, all salaries are subject to the forces of “supply and demand” and Hong Kong salaries tend to be higher than other places in the region—but so are the costs of living. Some reference points for salary levels include the Gemini survey or Payscale
The two largest items you should ask for if you are able to obtain an “expat package” are support for accommodation and school costs. A car is an added bonus, but maybe less important, as it’s very easy to get around using the public transport network.
Don’t forget to consider possible currency fluctuation when negotiating your pay package as currencies are constantly moving against each other.
Still, a major plus is that tax rates in Hong Kong are low compared to the rest of the region, and much lower compared to Australia or Europe.
How to (try and) save some Money
Everyone likes to be able to save some money for the unexpected or maybe for future travel, but how do you do it in Hong Kong?
- Share a flat instead of renting a whole unit
- Use other forms of public transport instead of taxis; even walk to your destination if you can!
- Rent accommodation farther out of the city
- Do your fruit and vegetable or grocery shopping in the open air or government organise markets
- Use the (free) parks and hiking trails to keep fit, instead of joining a gym or club