Making your first move or relocating to the city? Our guide to renting an apartment in Hong Kong breaks down the process for you, so that you can secure your dream pad in no time.
Whether you’re moving away from your parents or an expat settling down in the 852, navigating the rental market in Hong Kong can be daunting, especially seeing how expensive everything is! Therefore, we’re here to help you make the most informed decision – together with Service Apartment Hong Kong (SA/HK), the leading booking platform for serviced and furnished residences in Hong Kong. In addition to insider tips on up-and-coming properties, as well as personalised advice that typical listing sites do not give, SA/HK offers hand-held matchmaking services at zero agency fees, directing you to homes that best suit your preferences and requirements. Before you begin your flat-hunting journey, take a look at our guide to renting an apartment in Hong Kong.
All the FAQs to renting an apartment in Hong Kong, answered
What should I look out for when I’m renting an apartment in Hong Kong for the first time?
Renting your first apartment in Hong Kong can be an exciting adventure! Begin by shortlisting neighbourhoods that align with your lifestyle. From the dynamic streets of Tsim Sha Tsui to the tranquil corners of Mid-levels, each district has a unique personality. For a strategic edge, consult local experts who specialise in these areas. They provide in-depth market insights and uncover hidden or upcoming opportunities before they hit the open market.
In Hong Kong, accessibility defies the need for city centre living. With its compact size, coupled with an incredibly efficient transportation system, major destinations are within a 30-minute radius from most residential areas. Consider neighbourhoods a bit further from the centre for more value – which may equate to just 10 to 15 minutes of extra commute time, which is negligible compared to longer commutes in cities like London.
What are some tips when it comes to negotiating with Hong Kong landlords?
When it comes to negotiations, staying open is key. While there may be common market standards, it’s crucial to remember that no two landlords are exactly alike. Engaging advisors, particularly top-notch ones, can guide you towards opportunities that offer differing negotiation flexibility, thereby streamlining your efforts and time.
Also, embrace both financial and non-financial lease mechanisms in your negotiation. For instance, explore the benefits of securing a lengthier lease for reduced monthly rent, or delve into discussions for terms that offer heightened lease transparency and protective measures, such as rental cap provisions upon lease renewal.
How much is the average rent in Hong Kong (as of late 2023)?
In neighbourhoods like Central or Mid-levels, monthly rental rates for studio and one-bedroom apartments typically range from HK$20,000 to $30,000, or even higher for standard two-year leases. However, if you turn your attention to the Kowloon side, you’ll discover notably more attractive rental rates, often offering reductions of up to 20-40%, particularly for more spacious two and three-bedroom family homes. But, it’s crucial to note that traditional apartments often come unfurnished and do not include housekeeping services. Tenants are also responsible for agency fees (equivalent to half month’s rent) and utility bills, including broadband costs.
On the other hand, a studio apartment in a serviced residence (of similar quality and prime location) may have monthly costs ranging from HK$20,000 to $30,000, typically with a minimum stay of one month. The pricing is influenced by various factors, with property, locale, and duration of stay being the major ones. Notably, while the monthly rate for a serviced apartment might initially appear higher than that of a traditional apartment for shorter stays, costs tend to align if longer durations are negotiated. This makes serviced apartments in Hong Kong an attractive and highly competitive option, as the monthly rentals already come with utilities, housekeeping, and access to shared facilities like the gym and pool. (Plus, there are zero agency fees when booking with SA/HK!)
Serviced apartments, typically owned and managed by a single operator, often implement new price plans based on demand and supply. In contrast, traditional apartments may exhibit higher price fluctuations due to a decentralised ownership structure. In either case, to protect tenants against future rental changes and achieve rental stability, it is advisable for them to opt for the longest possible duration of stay. This approach often enables tenants to negotiate more competitive rates and reduce the risk of facing sudden rental increases when extending a short stay.
Is it worth renting a serviced apartment in Hong Kong?
In Hong Kong, conventional residential apartments have long adhered to a strict two-year lease standard, often coupled with a two-month notice period for termination following the initial 12 months. For those in need of short-term accommodations, hotels have traditionally been the preferred choice. Serviced apartments seamlessly bridge the gap between these two options.
Beyond providing a homely ambiance, complete with a kitchen, serviced apartments frequently offer a more cost-effective daily rate compared to hotels of similar grade and amenities. While the pricing of serviced apartments might initially seem higher on a per-square-foot basis than that of traditional long-term apartments, the extensive amenities and hotel-standard services often render these two types of properties equally appealing, if not more cost-effective when factoring the savings for furniture and managing contractual risk with more flexible durations.
However, serviced apartments have limitations when it comes to availability, breadth of options, and locations. For instance, larger families in search for spacious three- or four-bedroom serviced apartments may find the choices significantly constrained and at elevated price points. In these cases, traditional residential apartments become the default option, especially if you’re certain about your long-term residency in Hong Kong and are willing to forgo housekeeping and hotel-grade services.
How can I ensure I’m getting the best value for my money when it comes to renting an apartment in Hong Kong?
Navigating the market of renting apartments in Hong Kong can be daunting, so here are some basic approaches to take if you want to extract the best value or opportunities when making your first move or returning to Hong Kong:
1. Watch out for off-market opportunities and new developments
Each year, there’s a steady pipeline of new developments hitting the market in Hong Kong. These fresh projects often come with enticing early bird deals. In fact, it’s not uncommon to secure a below-market price on these brand-new offerings compared to older, less appealing properties that may have been on your shortlist! So, employ proactive strategies to unearth emerging opportunities before they hit the mainstream market. Collaborate with local specialists, such as SA/HK, who possess the expertise to identify the type of accommodation you’re seeking, so that they can promptly inform you about promising listings. Furthermore, remain adaptable, ready to fine-tune your criteria as your understanding of your chosen areas deepens.
2. Time your search wisely
The timing of your apartment search in Hong Kong can substantially impact your rental expenses. Peak rental seasons, typically during the summer when expats flock to the city, often lead to higher prices. To potentially secure the best value packages, initiate your search during off-peak seasons when the demand is lower. This approach can result in significant savings while ensuring you find your ideal abode.
3. Take swift action
When it comes to renting serviced apartments in Hong Kong, vacancies fluctuate daily due to lower supply. Acting quickly requires a thorough grasp of the market options, as well as continuous monitoring and reservation of available units. Postponing your decision may result in missing out on securing an ideal space that aligns with your budget and preferred location.
Got more questions about renting an apartment in Hong Kong? Reach out to Service Apartment Hong Kong (SA/HK) for specialist advice.
This post is in partnership with Service Apartment Hong Kong (SA/HK).