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Building Your Own Home

Hong Kong - Building Your Own Home

Most people who buy property in Hong Kong purchase pre-existing units or units in developments that are already being constructed but might not yet be finished. It is rare for an expat to build a home in Hong Kong, although it is certainly possible. Due to the limited amount of land available, however, in addition to the red tape that one must go through to build a property, it is generally not considered to be a time and cost-efficient option.

Land in Hong Kong is owned by the government. It is made available to the public either through long-term leases or land grants. Land under lease can be sold and is considered private land. It will also be sold or auctioned off on occasion and, if you want to build a house, this is what you need to look for. The Land Department lists land they have for sale as well as future auctions that are coming up. The Land Department’s website also has public information and forms that can be filled out. For more information, visit:

To build a house, the cost is around $HK1.5 million. Of course, this will depend on the materials, size, and design. It could be much more. When including the cost of land, which comes at a premium in Hong Kong, the cost could be closer to HK$3 million. A structural engineer and architect should be hired to help you with your house plans. Some firms have both on staff and some architects are also licensed structural engineers which can make things easier.

There are many restrictions that are in place for those who wish to build village houses. Although certain exemptions can be applied if the homeowner asks for special permission, it is important to remember that there are many specifications in place for building these homes. A good architect and structural engineer will understand these and work with them. Anyone who wants to apply for Certificates of Exemption may obtain application forms from New Territories District Lands Offices or download from Lands Department’s website: http://www.landsd.gov.hk/en/forms/index.htm.

Some of the restrictions include the number of stories, the size of the roof, the thickness of the load-bearing walls, the use of column and beam concrete frames, the height of the building, etc. There are not as many restrictions on village homes in which the owner has demolished the original house and rebuilt one on the same site.

Building a village home on private land is preferable since the status of the land increases the home’s value. It is also more likely that the government will speed up the permission to build. A qualified villager who doesn’t have access to private land has to wait for a government land grant. This can take years.

Sometimes developers will buy out a villager before the house is constructed. They will pay quite a bit of money just for the right to build. If several rights are purchased at one time, the developer can construct a small community with shared amenities.

There are many contractors in Hong Kong. Asking other expats, coworkers, and friends for advice is almost certainly the best way to find a reputable one. When you interview a contractor, ensure that the quotation they give you is long and detailed. Contractors who are skilled in renovations are not necessarily skilled in building new dwellings so asking to see examples of past work is advised.

All contractors should be licensed and registered to do their jobs. All electrical workers, gas installers, plumbers, gas contractors, and even construction workers should be licensed and registered. For a list of general registered building contractors, visit: http://www.bd.gov.hk/english/inform/e_gbc_1.html

For more information, visit the Lands Department and Buildings Department:

Lands Department
Email: landsd@landsd.gov.hk
Tel: 852 2231 3294

Buildings Department
Tel: 852 2626 1616
Email: enquiry@bd.gov.hk

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.