Cost of Living in Hong Kong: 2016

cost of living hong kong 2016

Hong Kong is currently one of the most expensive cities to live in Asia.

Wherever you go, property prices are perennially very high in Hong Kong and, unless you are sharing with one or two others, you can expect to be paying rental beginning around US$ 1,000 per month for a small apartment in an outer area, but more likely US$1,500; the only way after that is up and most foreigners (unless you are living in a relatively luxurious unit) seem to end up spending around US$2,000-2,500 per month on rent (don’t forget the other charges such as management fees, electricity costs and so on).

cost of living in hk 2016


Expat Guide: Finding a Place to Live in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is home to one of the world’s biggest international trading posts, a powerful manufacturing base and a booming financial centre. It attracts expats from all over the world and the city has become a melting pot of cultures and landscapes.

We’ve listed a few hacks for expats who plan to move to Hong Kong or have only started finding their way through city. These tips should guide you through the process of finding a temporary home while you’re here.


Mid levels HK

Mid-Levels comes highly recommended for newcomers as it is ideal for singles and families. It is located halfway up Victoria Peak, directly above Central. There’s a large expat community with a mix of affluent locals. Its features are its close proximity to nature (Hong Kong Park and Wan Chai Nature Trail) and a comparatively better air quality than many parts of Hong Kong Island. The University of Hong Kong is also within the area along with primary and secondary International Schools. The Central–Mid-Levels escalator runs through the Mid-Levels from Central to Conduit Road. It allows people to travel quickly between these two places, compared with travelling by the winding roads up the mountain.

Average Monthly Rent for 2 bed, 1 bath apartment (870 sq. ft): HK$ 38,000 – HK$43,000

Wan Chai

Expats looking for more reasonably priced housing and a sense of integration with the local community should consider renting in the residential area running from Tin Hau to North Point.  Although this neighborhood doesn’t have any large-scale shopping malls it does have supermarkets, traditional wet markets and good restaurants for expats to enjoy. The well-priced apartments in this area are also generally in good condition.

Average Monthly Rent for 2 bed, 1 bath apartment (850 sq. ft): HK$ 31,000 – HK$41,200

Kowloon Tong HK

Wan Chai is also a good district to explore because it’s a commercial district with a trendy residential area if you prefer an active social scene. There is also a wide range of housing types—from budget-friendly dwellings to serviced apartments and complexes. There are also nearby parks, culture & arts centers as well as office buildings for medium and small scale businesses.

Average Monthly Rent for 2 bed, 1 bath apartment (470 sq. ft): HK$26,000 – HK$34,000

Blog - image 5 Lantau Island

Expat families have also begun looking at Kowloon Tong because of nearby quality international schools. It is a quiet neighborhood with relatively more spacious apartments for rent. Colonial-style houses, low-rise apartments and a smattering of gated communities make up this high-end residential area. Kowloon Tong is serviced by Festival Walk, an upscale shopping centre, and is connected to the city centre by the MTR that is about a 20-minute commute to town.

Average Monthly Rent for 2 bed, 1 bath apartment (600 sq. ft): HK$ 21,300 – HK$28,100

Blog - image 5


Apartments in Hong Kong are very compact but it does not equate to cheaper rent. The cost will generally depend on your location. If you’re single other expats would recommend a shared apartment to save money.  Moving to Hong Kong with your family would require different arrangements and priorities.

A real estate agent with expats as their clientele can help in finding properties that might be more tailored to western tastes.  However we suggest you ask a local friend to help you find an estate agent.  Prices tend to go up for western clients and the best deals are kept for Hong Kong locals!


What is your priority in terms of dwelling? Is it comfort or practicality? Do you prefer living in the city center or somewhere less fast-paced? How much is your monthly budget? This will help you decide as you choose a place to call your temporary home.

When renting or buying your home, make sure you also get an All Risks Home Insurance policy to protect you from any liability and expenses during your stay. Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities to live in so find an insurance policy that will cover all your needs from mortgage payment liability to loss of properties inside the house.






Expat Guide: Greeting Etiquette in Hong Kong

etiquette for expats hong kong

Hong Kong is home to many expats from the US and Europe. Social events within the community is a way for everyone to feel a little less homesick and is also a way to grow one’s network while staying in a foreign country.

It is a given that greeting gestures for westerners is different. So when the moment demands for it, How will you greet your next potential set of friends?  You’re no doubt keen to make a good first impression, and you’re wondering how to go about saying hello. Will the impeccably groomed lady to your left plant a kiss on your cheek as she introduces herself, as she seems to have done to everyone else in the room? And will it just be one, or might she unexpectedly go for the double just as you pull back?

In this case, it’s best to adopt the Hong Kong default of a kiss on both cheeks when meeting and greeting. After a few months of living here, you will come to observe the different greetings practised by various nationalities. Context is crucial, however, according to whether people are amongst their own community or socialising in a mixed group of expats from any number of cultural backgrounds.

The French will say hello and give a kiss on each cheek while Australians are accustomed to just one. Touching is unlikely for Indians so a casual “hi” will suffice. On the other hand, Americans and Swedes who would usually hug their friends might rein in their natural tendencies to embrace those from different cultures. The Dutch, who at home kiss three times when saying hello to friends, would likewise scale back the effusion, whereas the British might just overcome their natural reserve and start kissing with gusto. This is where a homogenised greeting really helps to level the playing field.

Read through our blogs to find out more about life in Hong Kong as well as information on insurance for expats.



Hong Kong Should Prepare for Inevitable Zika Virus Arrival

The virus that so far has only been affecting some countries in South America is now expected to infect Asia soon, experts say. Hong Kong in particular is already warned to make the necessary preparations in anticipation of the Zika virus.

According to South China Morning Post, both the mosquito species that transmit Zika virus can be found in Asia. Hong Kong’s increasing warmth and intensifying rainfalls per year also make the city a hotspot for mosquitos to breed.

This was how the virus spread on a global scale.
zika virus
Previous findings about the virus explained that it posed no big threat to the health of an infected person (symptoms, if any, include a rash and fever), except that if a person is pregnant during infection then her baby may develop microcephaly, a condition in which the baby’s brain is smaller than normal. Now, reports have surfaced linking the virus to Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease that causes progressive paralysis and eventually death.

But what worries health officials the most is the fact that a majority of those infected with Zika show no symptoms at all, making it almost impossible to detect early on. Current tests for diagnosis are slow and expensive but scientists in Brazil are presently working to create an affordable and effective new test.

In the meantime, Hong Kong’s public health sector urges its citizens to follow certain protocols to avoid the spread of infection. For example, if one has recently travelled to Zika-positive countries, he or she is not allowed to donate blood nor have sexual intercourse without a condom for 28 days. One must also continue to wear mosquito repellent for 14 days after visiting affected areas. It is now also required by law to report any cases of the disease within the city to the Department of Health.

Hong Kong’s public health system is also currently having difficulty dealing with a surge in flu patients. However, health officials say that should there be a Zika virus outbreak in the city, they are confident that only a small portion of those infected would require hospitalisation. That is why it is more important than ever to take heed of the precautionary measures one needs to take in order to avoid being infected, especially since the consequences can be quite serious.

In anticipation of a crisis, it’s always best to be prepared. Make sure that you and your family’s health insurance situations are taken care of and that in the event of severe complications from the Zika virus, your and your family’s medical care will be covered.

We help find the best International Health Insurance for expats in Hong Kong. These insurance plan cover emergency repatriation, hospitalization and more. Get in touch with us for inquiries.



Expat Guide: Living in Central SoHo & Central Mid-levels

SoHo and the Mid-levels are two of the most popular neighborhoods among Hong Kong expats.

Central SoHo is a trendy, swanky area where lines of bars and shops stay open until the early hours of the morning. It’s located south of Hollywood Road and you can get there via MTR Central Station, Exit D2. Central Mid-levels in contrast is a hilly, tree-lined neighborhood with scenic winding roads. Some call the area the Lower Peaks.
Why Expats Flock these Neighborhoods?

Expats choose to live in these parts if the city because they offer a balanced combination of cosmopolitan life and quiet greenery. Divided between the residential Mid-Levels area, whose apartment blocks give beautiful views over Victoria Harbour, and SoHo’s party district. SoHo has its diverse establishment line-up of galleries, antique shops, boutiques and drinking holes where tourists and locals converge to take a break from work. If you’re young and single, SoHo is the ideal place for you. Families and newlyweds on the other hand choose the Mid-levels because it’s more suitable  for kids.

Hong Kong’s highly efficient public transport connects you to the whole territory, another feature which attracts many expats.

What to do in SoHo?what to do in central mid levels what to do in soho

Shop at PMQ (35 Aberdeen Street)
Complex of 100 retail spaces and artistic studios

Get Coffee at Common Ground (19 Shing Wong Street)
A cozy hangout that also displays quirky accessories by homegrown designers.

Taste test at Tate (59 Elgin Street)
Fusion of French and Japanese cuisine

Look at Art at Liang Yi Museum (181–199 Hollywood Road)

What to do in Central Mid-levels?

what to do in central mid levels
Take the Escalator
Cuts through the Mid-Levels, from Central to Conduit Road. It allows people to travel quickly between these two places, compared with traveling by the winding roads up the mountain.

Relax at the Hong Kong Park
Natural landscapes for strolling, hiking, jogging and relaxing with friends and family.

Walk through Wan Chai Nature Trail
Wan Chai Nature Trail is a short footpath and it only takes about 2 hours to complete.

Get cultured at the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre
Main aim of supporting local art creation

Real estate is very expensive in Hong Kong and these two neighborhoods are not exempted. Average Monthly Rent for a 2 bed, 1 bath apartment (870 sq. ft) in these areas is between HK$ 38,000 to HK$50,000.

Landlords will have Property Insurance for rented flats but we also recommend you get Renter’s Insurance to protect your personal belongings (furniture, computer, etc.) in case of loss, fire or flooding. We help expats with Home Contents Insurance and more.




Hospitalization Costs: Insurance Cover for Hong Kong Expats

Hong Kong has 56 hospitals all with Ambulatory and Emergency units as well as general practice. Of these, 12 are private hospitals. Here is a list of private hospitals in Hong Kong.

Public healthcare in the country is one of the best in the world but as an expat, we always recommend that you secure proper health insurance for extreme cases where immediate hospitalization or repatriation is covered. The biggest disadvantages of subscribing to public hospital care are the long wait for check-ups and setting appointments, communication problems because of language, and the inconsistent medical attention because you’re unlikely to see the same doctor for follow-ups.

This is the cost of private healthcare in Hong Kong based from information from www.ha.org.hk:Untitled

A Hospitalisation Insurance is one way to ensure that you and your family’s emergency medical needs are covered. This is especially recommended for Hong Kong expats with chronic illness or critical health conditions which need immediate medical interventions.

A+ International Healthcare in partnership with Village Insurance Direct are offering a special promo for expats in Hong Kong. Applicants of any age who choose the Hospitalization Only policy (semi-private room) will get a 25% discount. We recommend getting this insurance while you’re young (18 to 30 years) to take full advantage of the lowest premium rate of USD$141/month.

The insurance features include:

  • Underwritten by one of the world’s largest insurers, AXA.
  • US$1.35m per annum of overall cover
  • Guaranteed renewability
  • Chronic conditions covered
  • Cancer covered
  • Congenital conditions covered
  • Complications of pregnancy – no waiting period (if plan started prior to being pregnant)
  • Medical Evacuation and Repatriation
  • Optional Dental and Optical
  • Wide range of agreements worldwide with healthcare providers

Get a quote for this limited time offer today. Visit A+ International Healthcare in Hong Kong. You can LiveChat with our agents on our website for your immediate questions about this promo.


Expat Guide: Being a Contractor in Hong Kong

By definition, a contractor is an independent entity that is with a company or employer to provide a set of services or deliver goods within a specified time frame.

More and more businesses in Hong Kong are opening opportunities for contractual jobs because of the shift in need for more independent workers. Another reason for a greater demand for contractors is that the country has been regarded as a fertile ground for startups which usually work with a skeletal team that are not as capable of affording full time employees and the benefits that are required for such positions. Expats in particular have taken great advantage of these opportunities specifically with tech and B2B startup ventures.

There are two factors that contribute to the appeal of contractual jobs to expats. One is higher earning within a short period and the second is flexibility which allows them to pursue other personal projects while traveling.

Benefits for regular employees and contractors differ. Here is a general guideline:blog_-_table (1)

*Note that a contractor has to enroll in a Mandatory Provident Fund scheme and make contributions on his own.

Info on Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme Ordinance and Employers’ Contribution

What about Insurance?

Regular employees are entitled to Employee Compensation Insurance, which is mandatory for all employers by law. Since contractors are not technically under an employer, you will need to make arrangements for your own financial protection. The recommended policy is a generalLiability Insurance, which can be broken down into several more specific policies that cover different risks.

Contractors need protection from the following risks:

Professional Indemnity: Contractors who provide consulting and advice, such as accountants, financial planners, interior designers and landscape architects, need to be concerned about liability risks due to losses a client may experience as a result of the contractor’s recommendations. Also called “Errors and Omission Insurance.”

Product liabilities: For liability protection with goods or products you produce that may injure a third party.

Total and Permanent Disability: To protect your income in case you are seriously injured or become ill that leaves you incapable to go back to work.

For more information on business and personal insurance needs, contact us at info@villageinsirancedirect.com or fill up the forms in our website for free quotes on insurance.