Although mainland China may have overtaken Hong Kong in terms of living expenses, this city still remains on top of Mercer Cost of Living Survey, which inevitably makes it one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. With this in mind, it is essential to mentally prepare to ‘live as the Romans do’ or else you will be left penniless. Eliminating yourself from the expat bubble can save you unimaginable dollars, so here are a few things to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for before you make your big move.
This city is one of the most expensive when it comes to housing, so do not be baffled if you have to spend a little over 50 percent of your income on rent. As they say, scarce resources are the most costly — with Hong Kong having a land area of only 1100 square kilometers, there are close to seven million heads crawling every inch of the city. Shortage of housing, then, is reflected in the property prices. Coupled with these are equally absurd utility prices, most especially in summer when the use of air conditioners is more than average.
Most expats prefer to reside on Hong Kong Island (Kowloon and New Territories) where the rent is more reasonable — this is where you will find most young expats. The Mid Levels are where families choose to live as it offers convenience; the infrastructure is exquisite and business centres are only a stone’s throw away. Lantau Island is another popular area, but a simple three-bedroom apartment could cost you as much as HKD 50,000
Healthcare and Education
A healthcare insurance plan is a necessity in Hong Kong since decent private healthcare could add an unexpected hefty sum to your already-skyrocketing expenses. Compared to most countries in South East Asia, this city has got to be the most costly when it comes to food and other basic consumer goods, so prepare to spend big.
Families in Hong Kong may endure the most expenses, as international schools can annually cost HKD 150,000 exclusive of debentures. It would therefore help to be prepared to spend a little more than the average person if you have children.
Buy a Car or Use Public Transport?
Public transport in Hong Kong is not the most reliable there is, possibly due to the fact that compared to everything else in this haven, it is rather cost-efficient. So if you want to reduce your cost of living, you could resort to this method.
While having a car can be convenient, there are other costs which should be taken into consideration: parking does not come cheap, gas prices could leave your mouth agape, and then there is applying for a driver’s license which could cost you a little over HKD 12,000.
Clearly the saying ‘money makes the world go ‘round’ was especially made for Asia’s leading tiger, so be prepared to spend and indulge in Asian culture in modern Hong Kong — it is worth it.