If you’re wondering whether you can buy property as an expat, the answer is yes – you can buy property in Hong Kong. Other than the additional fee of Buyer Stamp Duty, expats generally have similar rights and regulations as local residents. However, there are certain factors that expats need to pay more attention to when buying property in a foreign land. Here is a checklist on all you need to know in buying Hong Kong property:
Buyer Stamp Duty
One major difference that expats need to look out for is the Buyer Stamp Duty (BSD), where non-Hong Kong Permanent Residents are required to pay an extra 15% of the market value of the property within 30 days of the chargeable document. However, if the residential property is jointly acquired with a Hong Kong Permanent who is a close relative, you will not be required to pay the BSD.
In terms of mortgage, both locals and expats are eligible for the 90% Mortgage Insurance Program (MIP), which means that homebuyers only have to pay 10% of the property price as down payment. If the property value is below HK$4 million, the maximum loan to value (LTV) Ratio is 90%, but if the property value is rated at or above HK$4.5 million to HK$6 million, the maximum LTV Ratio is 80%. It is important to note that the MIP is only available to applicants whose principal income derives from Hong Kong. Therefore, only expats residing in Hong Kong for the long run would benefit from this program.
Real estate agent
Having a licensed real estate agent help you find your dream home is faster and more convenient, but please be aware of the procedures that go along with appointing an estate agent. You can check whether an estate agent is licensed through the license list available on the Hong Kong Government website. When appointing an agent, please remember to sign an estate agency agreement with them, of which the conditions will include the validity period of the agreement, the amount of commission and time of payment and whether the agent acts only for you or for both you and the vendor.
There’s no harm in doing a little background check on the property – head onto the bilingual Property Information Online section of the Hong Kong government website to check the saleable area, age and permitted occupation purposes of the given residential property. This process only requires a small fee of $9 HKD, but it’ll make a significant impact on your future investment. On the other hand, if you’re buying firsthand property, you can check for detailed information related to the sales brochures and price lists on the electronic database of the Sale of First-hand Residential Properties Authority.
If you’re a little superstitious and buying secondhand property as well, you can check whether your property is haunted on our Haunted House Database. If a murder, suicide or accidental death has previously occurred in an apartment, the apartment and surrounding area are usually considered haunted or “Hong Za”. If the price is unusually low, there’s usually something dodgy about the apartment.
>>> Read More: How to Live an Affordable and Comfortable Life in Hong Kong