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The past five years saw immigration to Hong Kong up 30%. That’s quite a few more people who are choosing or have chosen to move to this great city. Expats are lured by the higher salaries they can attain, the convenience of travelling more often, and the unbridling energy that makes for a positive and productive work landscape coupled with enormous social opportunities.
For most, new ex pats take up leases for 1 or 2 years in the central areas of Soho, the Mid Levels, Sheung Wan and Wanchai. Other areas are also popular such as Sai Ying Pun, Kennedy Town, Tin Hau and Causeway Bay. All of these areas have a consistent supply of apartments to rent and you can normally find a place suitable to your needs within a few days by using a professional agent. Once briefed, they will organize viewings of potentially suitable properties and take care of the process for you. A reputable and respected agent such as the agents at Engel & Voelkers will steer you correctly for every aspect of this sometimes complicated process with water and electricity connections, what you should be paying for and what the landlord should be taking care of etc.
Ok, you’ve briefed your property agent, and you are looking for a 1 bedroom apartment with perhaps a second room for guests. Understanding that Hong Kong builds are usually a lot smaller than in other cities, because space is at a premium, you start to view potential homes. One thing that can be surprising is the choice. It goes without saying, then, that there are a lot of options for accommodation, so while there is a very high demand for property, there is also a very high supply. When searching for accommodation, there won’t be a shortage of places to view. Decide upfront whether or not you need parking on site. The public transport System and MTR are extremely efficient in Hong Kong and fulfill most people’s needs.
Understanding the variety and what suits you is the key to success. Hong Kong is loaded with new apartment buildings, designed specifically for professionals who want to enjoy concierge services, full on site facilities such as swimming pools and well equipped gymnasiums. These will cost more than say an older style Chinese walk up. Both have definite advantages however, so know your limits budget wise, think about your lifestyle needs and have fun getting out there and viewing.
There’s always something new being built in Hong Kong, and although that means being treated to the melodious sounds of drills when walking around the street, it also means it’s easy to find new apartments. The Centralized districts of Hong Kong Island are constantly unveiling the next best residential building loaded with all the semi-luxury to full on luxury services and facilities that can be packed in to resort style living. Single and multiple towers, with incredible Clubhouse and shared facilities of the highest quality make for exciting and enjoyable living and if you are lucky enough to have a larger budget but still like the idea of apartment living close to Central, as opposed to a house further out, the prestigious penthouse apartments in the new buildings offer private rooftop pools and state of the art spacious living with knock out kitchens and appliances, maids quarters and wow factor views. All of these new luxury developments offer 24 hour excellent security and generally (but not always), come with parking on site.
If swimming pools and ultra luxury facilities are not essential to your living, then there are a good selection of mid range well maintained buildings built around the 80’s and 90’s which can sometimes be more spacious with larger rooms where you can still get great views and outdoor balconies with perhaps an older style pool in a shared space. Some of these apartments will be in original condition which will be cheaper to rent and some will have been upgraded with more modern layouts and fittings for a little more money. All of these buildings will have 24 hour security for peace of mind and depending on the location, can offer on-site parking spaces.
These buildings are predominantly from the 50’s and 60’s era and are mostly a walk up (no lift). The beauty of these older style apartments is the amount of space that they can offer. With higher ceiling heights and extra large rooms – some have been renovated with internal walls removed to create larger lofty living and dining rooms, the extra effort of taking the building stairs up is well worth consideration. With fewer neighbours, these apartments can be quieter abodes, with a decent amount of storage. Some renovated apartments have had magnificent New York loft styled fit-outs and makeovers offering character and warmth that are not always present in the newer buildings. Most have an average of 5 to 6 floors (the odd one does go up to 10) and the top floor apartments generally have a rooftop outdoor area that can be perfect for entertaining with added BBQ’s and hot tubs. The rents on these older buildings, depending on the level of renovations carried out, are surprisingly much more affordable and are hugely popular among the ex-pat community who want to have a bit more space.
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