Hong Kong expats relocating from hi-so districts due to soaring rentals

Published:  10 Apr at 6 PM
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Soaring real estate prices in Hong Kong’s traditional expat areas are spurring moves to less expensive districts.

The traditionally favourite enclaves for the expat community in Hong Kong including Mid-Levels, Discovery Bay, the Peak and Southern District are now no longer affordable for the bulk of foreigners working in the island city. Nowadays, Hong Kong is the most expensive destination in Asia for high-end apartment rentals and, although salaries are still high, many expats are moving to more affordable, less expat-oriented districts.

The reasons behind the soaring rental charges are to do with the 11 per cent per annum increase over the past eight years of property values in the most fashionable areas. As selling prices for desirable apartments rise, landlords use the increasing value of properties as an excuse to increase rental charges. New favourites include unorthodox areas such as Tin Hao, Kwun Tong, Lamma and Tung Chung as well as Ham Tin on southern Lantau, all of which boast more affordable rentals and an enjoyable quality of life.

One British expatriate who arrived in Hong Kong in 2011to start a new job in insurance has recently moved to Lamma from his apartment in Kennedy Town. When he first arrived, he decided he needed a reasonably convenient location on Hong Kong island although a large, exclusive expat community wasn’t on his wish list. For several years, Kennedy Town ticked all his boxes, but now, he says, it’s changed hugely and is almost as bad as other expat enclaves such as Mid Levels.

Another expat originally from New Zealand had a similar experience after she and her family moved into a small apartment in Discovery Bay. After a few years, they moved to Ham Tin village on Lantau island, exchanging their pricey apartment for a large family house. The rental is more expensive than in Discovery Bay, but far cheaper per square foot, and the family feel they’ve escaped from the ‘fake’ lifestyle in their former district. Her only worry is that southern Lantau will develop into the next expat hub, bringing with it everything they were more than happy to leave.

Source: South China Morning Post
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