Hong Kong expats choosing less expensive districts as packages cuts bite

Published:  15 Aug at 6 PM
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Hong Kong is still an expat professional favourite but, as relocation packages and salaries shrink, new arrivals are choosing to live in less expensive districts.

The trend away from former traditionally popular locations such as the Peak and Mid-Levels began after the 2011 financial crisis and is now a full-blown movement. Newly popular areas include Chai Wan, Austin, Olympic, North Point and Sai Wan Ho, with the more adventurous even venturing into New Territories East.

A recent survey revealed Hong Kong is still the world’s most expensive city, with the cutbacks in salaries and relocation packages spurring the shift away from the city’s trendiest addresses. Another reason for the change in focus, according to local relocation firms, is the recent shift in demographics in that arriving expats are now single and childless.

The new breed of professional expats are likely to choose up and coming districts with good travel connections to the city’s commercial hub, and affordability is now number one on the must-have list. Renters and buyers aren’t restricted to locations served by international schools, and are far more willing to mix with local people rather than hide away in a closed expat community.

At the present time, more families are leaving Hong Kong than are arriving, with the exodus being blamed on job cuts within the city’s big banks. House hunting mostly involves the services of an agent specialising in expat relocation and familiar with the plusses and minuses of outer districts such as Kowloon and the New Territories.

The trend is expected to result in the formation of expat enclaves in previously unfashionable areas, with younger expats mingling with local people and creating their own lifestyles and individual social groups. Whether employed in the city’s business hub or starting their own businesses, the new arrivals will enjoy the best of this amazing city without having to spend a small fortune.
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