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Hong Kong - Property Prices

Property prices in Hong Kong are some of the most expensive in the world. Both renting and buying a property is normally the largest expense that an expat will encounter. Other than the cost of property, cost of living in Hong Kong is considered fairly reasonable for a city of its size.

The price of housing is dependent upon many factors, including location, age of building, and size. A very small apartment close to the central business district might well be more expensive than a townhouse that is larger but further away.

The new 15% stamp duty on foreigners has made purchasing property more expensive than it was in the past. As a result, it is expected that not as many expats will be buying property in Hong Kong in the future since the out of pocket expenses upfront can be so high. It is expected, however, that since the stamp duty has gone into place rental prices will also increase as more and more foreigners decline to purchase property.

Prices for Hong Kong property can range from around HK$400,000 to several million. Those with a large budget find the prices on the Southern Hong Kong property market more affordable than those whose budgets are a little lower. The Peak, Hong Kong’s highest point and one of the most luxurious locations, is another area that is known for high prices.

In the past, purchasing property was a good investment for foreigners. Some foreigners were investing in real estate in Hong Kong as a way to maximize their portfolios by investing part of their gains into fixed asset items such as houses and apartments. However, that is one of the reasons why Hong Kong has now implemented the high stamp duty on non-permanent residents.

It is anticipated by some economists that the prices of Hong Kong’s properties will drop in the future, possibly by a great amount. Whether or not potential buyers want to take the risk of purchasing property in hopes to get a return on it is something that will remain a personal decision. Buying is usually considered a good investment if you plan on staying in Hong Kong for an extended period of time since mortgage payments can oftentimes be lower than monthly rental rates in some areas. However, this isn’t always the case.

Although in some areas the price per square foot has increased by as much as 10%, in other areas it has decreased by the same amount. On Hong Kong Island, estates such as Taikoo Shing, Queen’s Terr, and Baguio Villa see an average of around HK$10,000/sq.ft. In other places such as Heng Fa Chuen, South Horizons, and The Pacifica that price is closer to HK$8,000/sq.ft. In Kowloon, properties can still be found for as low as HK$4,000/sq.ft. In the New Territories, prices are rarely over HK$9,000/sq. ft. and offer some of the largest spaces for the price.

A two bedroom 482 sq.ft. apartment in the Mid-Levels might cost as much as HK$9 million. On the other hand, a two bedroom 502 sq.ft. apartment in Happy Valley might only cost HK$7.8 million. In the New Territories, the price might be HK$8.5 million but you might get 1,400 sq.ft. and 3 bedrooms instead of 2. Prices tend to be higher the closer you get to the central business district. Proximity to public transportation and place of employment, and sometimes schools, often dictate the areas that expats wish to live in. However, with flexibility in these areas it is possible to find cheaper prices if you’re willing to travel a little further afield and rely on public transportation to get you back to the center.

Older buildings tend to have more square footage per dollar, but you might find that banks are unwilling to give long terms for them if they are more than 35 years old. Some banks won’t approve a mortgage at all if the building doesn’t have an elevator.

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