Expats in Hong Kong forced to move to suburban areas as rents soar

Published:  12 Feb at 6 PM
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Expatriate workers in Hong Kong are being forced out of the central area by rapidly rising rents.

Estate agents in the city are reporting strong demand for rental apartments in less expensive outlying areas of the city from expatriate workers whose leases have expired. Landlords are taking advantage of the city’s soaring rents, and employers are cutting back on expat housing allowances.

Researchers into the rising rental market for central properties have noted that, when leases expire, a 20 to 30 per cent increase in the rent is normal in order to renew. Suitable properties in the business district are fewer in comparison with the outer suburbs, and are now at a premium rental price as a result.

In comparison, rents in the New Territories are expected to fall by at least 10 per cent from their present level with the soon to be completed construction of 5,000 new apartments. Janet Chang, a local estate agent focusing on the expat market, believes that many landlords are increasing rental charges by HK$1,000 - 2000 a month for their central properties.

Previously unpopular areas due to their distance from the downtown districts are seeing relocation by increasing numbers of expatriate workers. Choice is limited nowadays as fewer property investors are entering the market due to the increase in stamp duty in February 2013.
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