Living in Hong Kong is hard these days – as we’re constantly surrounded by sky high property prices, no wonder expats are relocating or moving back home. According to Numbeo’s Global Cost of Living Index 2015, Hong Kong has risen from the 31st place to the 26th place in the world. As Hong Kong property prices continue to increase, first home buyers find it increasingly difficult to buy their first home. Everyone wants a place to call home, but even if young people save every penny they earn for a decade, they can only afford to pay the down payment of a shoebox apartment. Sometimes you have to wonder – is buying property in Hong Kong worth it? You can always resort to renting, but renters also have to deal with increasing rent. When it comes to buying or renting an apartment in Hong Kong, how far are you willing to go?

To buy an apartment, would you…

Buy a haunted apartment?

Would you willingly give up your superstitious beliefs just to buy an apartment? If a murder, suicide or accidental death has previously occurred in an apartment, the apartment is usually considered “haunted”. As most Hong Kong homebuyers are afraid of ghosts, the property value of haunted apartments is usually lower than other nearby apartment units. However, as everyone is in a hurry to grab affordable property before they disappear for good, even a HK$10 million haunted apartment in Taikoo Shing can be sold within a short period of time.

Buy an industrial unit?

Have you ever considered buying an industrial unit as your first home? Nowadays the market provides a range of renovated industrial units for residential purposes, such as Dan 6 in Tsuen Wan. The price is also more affordable than other forms of housing, as an industrial unit costs around HK$2 million. Although industrial units are relatively cheap and provide a generous living space, industrial units are typically located in highly polluted areas that are far away from urban amenities.

Buy an apartment together with friends?

For those who are single out there, have you ever thought of buying an apartment with friends? One of the great things about buying with friends is that you only have to pay half of the down payment, but if your friend suddenly has money troubles, would you be able to afford the entire mortgage? In order to avoid unnecessary conflict with your friend in the future, don’t forget to clearly state the home ownership and calculate the shared daily costs.

To rent an apartment, would you…

Live in public housing?

Would you be willing to give up your career just to live in public housing? Since the maximum income limit of a 2-person family unit is around $14,000HKD, some people deliberately look for part-time jobs with lower salaries to make themselves eligible applicants for public housing. The government’s purpose in providing public housing to Hong Kong residents is to resolve the housing shortage issue, but why are there vacant public housing units? According to the most recent data gathered by the Hong Kong Housing Authority, out of 740,000 public housing units, around 1.3% (approximately 10,000 units) is currently vacant. Nowadays there are around 26,000 applicants on the waiting list, but some of the vacant units are undergoing renovation or waiting to be allocated, which results in certain units remaining vacant for nearly 5 years.

Become your landlord’s tutor?

Nowadays rooms for rent have become a common phenomenon in Hong Kong, but would you be willing to become your landlord’s child’s full time tutor just to pay cheap rent? Recently a room for rent ad went viral on the internet – the landlord offers a 100 sqft furnished room for rent for HK$2000 a month, but conditions include tutoring the landlord’s child 5-6 days week in Chinese, maths, dictation and conversational Cantonese. The landlord is willing to compensate with an hourly rate of HK$50, but in return for cheap rent, you have to become a live-in tutor.