Living in the concrete jungle of Hong Kong, we all want to find a place to call home. Although most of us can only afford shoebox apartments in the city, size isn’t a problem as long as our living space is comfy and cosy. If you want to find your dream home in Hong Kong, here are a few insider tips on how to find the perfect apartment!
1) What to watch out for
If you’re wondering whether expats can buy property in Hong Kong, the answer is yes – however, you should keep track of government regulations and property cooling measures, since this affects all kinds of homebuyers. For example, recently the government introduced new mortgage-tightening measures, where homebuyers need to pay a higher down payment for properties that cost under $7 million HKD.
Renting an apartment may seem less complicated compared to buying an apartment, but overlooking small details in the tenancy agreement can lead to serious consequences. Before you sign the tenancy agreement, don’t forget to ask your landlord whether the property is mortgaged and have written consent for rental property details, additional expenses, respective responsibility in maintenance and repairs and alterations of rental property.
2) How to bag a bargain
Living in one of the most expensive cities of the world, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a “cheap” apartment. For those who are renting, vintage buildings or “Tong Lau” tend to be cheaper in rent. If you want to find out whether you’re getting your money’s worth, you can compare property prices on Squarefoot’s website. Once you’re crystal clear on the market price, you’ll know whether an apartment is worth it or not!
Another more controversial method of bagging a bargain is to buy or rent a “haunted apartment”. Usually an apartment is considered “haunted” if a murder, suicide or accidental death has previously occurred in the living space. If you’re not superstitious or afraid of ghosts, you could get a good deal for rent, but you might have trouble receiving mortgage loans from banks if you plan to buy the apartment.
3) What areas offer the best value for money
When investing in local property, properties along the new railway lines tend to have a higher ROI, such as the new Sha Tin to Central railway line. You may have noticed that there’s been a lot of hype revolving around new MTR stations such as Kennedy Town – since MTR stations are a sign of development in the neighbourhood, investors tend to focus on these areas of development when deciding which district to invest in.
4) Things to remember
When buying or renting property, people tend to get distracted by the glitz and glam of new apartments and forget to inspect the dark and hidden corners. Building inspection is very crucial when buying property, because it can save you time and money for future repairs. In Hong Kong you can hire professional building inspectors to help you out, but if you prefer to do it yourself, make sure you inspect the doors, windows, floorboards, ceiling, kitchen and bathroom!
5) Vintage vs. new
When deciding between vintage or new apartments, the choice comes down to your personal preference – vintage apartments tend to offer more generous spaces, but you may have to spend more money in maintenance and repairs in the long run. New apartments tend to offer brand new facilities and a luxurious living space, but are usually more expensive compared to vintage apartments.