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Accommodation & Property

Hong Kong (City) - Accommodation & Property

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Hong Kong is a vibrant cultural mix, and each neighborhood district has its own definitive character, atmosphere and style. Given the traffic situation during peak hours, more and more expatriates are choosing to live closer to where they work. Expatriates with families sometimes take into consideration the location of schools when deciding where to live.

Rates for renting properties vary, depending on size, amenities, view, and of course, location. As a general guide, residential property is higher on Hong Kong Island (e.g. The Peak, the Southside, Central and Mid-Levels). In Kowloon, Kowloon Tong and parts of Tsim Sha Tsui are also dear. In Hong Kong, the unit of measurement for property is in square feet - one square meter equals 10.672 square feet.

Some useful Cantonese phrases to help you in your search for accommodation: ? "zhou"means to rent. ? "fong" means a room. ?? "Jong sau" or "Jong" - usually means newly decorated or renovated. ?? "duk laap" -- in real estate speak, it usually means the loft or high-ceilinged apartments. ?? "gou lau" – high floor (expect to pay more); ?? "hoi cing" – sea view (expect to pay more). ?? "tin toi" – rooftop (great for entertaining, exercise or sunbathing).

There are many new developments in Kowloon with lower occupancy rates (and lower rents). These new apartments come with great facilities. Several expat communities are located in older neighborhoods. For example, Happy Valley is home to many American expatriates.

In Hong Kong, the security deposit placed is usually equivalent to 2 (sometimes 3) months' rent, in addition to setting aside another month's rent as the first month payment. Half a month's rent is usually paid as commission to the real estate agent. No terms for rental contracts are mandated by the Hong Kong law.

Domestic helpers (Amah) are common in Hong Kong to help with housekeeping and childcare. Many of the domestic helpers come from the Philippines, but you can also hire a local domestic helper. If you intend to hire a foreign domestic helper, you need to be a Hong Kong resident with a monthly household income of no less than HKD$15,000 or assets of comparable amount to support the employment of the helper for the entire contractual period. You are also required to purchase insurance and provide free medical treatment. A minimum wage applies for foreign domestic helpers. For more details, refer to www.gov.hk.

If you wish to consider buying a property in Hong Kong, do note that all land in Hong Kong ultimately belongs to the government. That is to say, anyone buying a property is in effect buying a lease agreement, which can range from 50 years to 999 years. There are very few restrictions on foreigners purchasing properties in Hong Kong. Almost anyone can purchase a property in Hong Kong.

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