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frustration with house hunting

  1. #1
    ctrbabe1 is offline Registered User
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    frustration with house hunting

    We've been living in Pokfulam for the whole 7.5 years we've lived in HK, and we love the area. What we don't love are the sizes of the flats we can afford. My hubby works at QMH, and he has about a 5 minute commute, which is fantastic, obviously. We are trying for baby #3, but the biggest problem is that we don't have enough room in our 518 sq. ft. flat. We've looked at the 3BR flats in our same complex, but basically they add a 3rd small bedroom, and the other 2 bedrooms are also smaller than the ones we have now. The layouts are awkward, and would probably need extensive remodelling. We've looked in Aberdeen, Ap Lei Chau, Kennedy Town, Sai Ying Pun, and honestly can not find anything that suits our needs, and is also in our price range. It's very frustrating. (FYI- we are looking to buy, not rent).

    We've contemplated moving out to the NT or somewhere we we can have a lot more space for a lot less money, but let's face it, after the hours my hubby works, the last thing he wants is a 1.5 hour commute. We don't get to see him enough as it is, if he was commuting that far, we would NEVER see him.

    Any advice?
    All the best,
    Katie

  2. #2
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Depending on where you live in the NT (it's a very big, diverse area that's kind of lumped together--NT can mean everywhere from Sai Kung to Tuen Mun--and all the land area in between), the commute won't be 1.5 hours (even with a round-trip).

    The West Rail is fast and connected through Hung Hom so if you live in the NT East or West you can make it into the city pretty fast. We live quite far out of the city in a village and even from our place I can be in Central by train in 20 minutes. If you have a car (with 3 kids, it might be a serious consideration) you'll be able to get around even faster.

    If you're saving a ton of cash on buying a house (because of location) that will also free up money to have a vehicle if you want. For example, we rent two floors of a village house next to Yuen Long. We've been living here almost 4 years. We pay $5,900 HKD/month for rent and we have SIX bedrooms (not tiny bedrooms either--my son has his own room, we have a largish master bedroom, my husband has his office in one, we have one just for storage/pantry, one nice one for the helper and a guest room that sits empty most of the time!), TWO kitchens (tiny), TWO bathrooms (tiny), TWO living rooms, TWO balconies, a FULL ROOF where we can wash and hang our clothes and look at the surrounding greenery and hills and a ton of storage space in our hallway. We did get a pretty sweet deal on our current house but it's totally not impossible to find similar situations.

    Actually our landlord wants to sell our house at the end of this year (we don't want to buy right now and he wants to sell because he inherited the house and just doesn't want to be a landlord anymore) so if you're interested, let me know. Our landlord is awesome too--everything has been kept up and he and his family are lovely to deal with. They grow bananas on the roof of their house and are always giving us food and free things whenever we see them.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  3. #3
    TNT
    TNT is offline Banned
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    Assuming you want to buy for captial growth, what about renting a place for your family in Pokfulam and buying somewhere you can afford elsewhere (you are less limited by location then) and then renting that out to someone else? You would have to do the numbers to make sure it works for you, but that is so common to do in my home country, although I know less so here.

  4. #4
    lisa88 is offline Registered User
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    There is a difference commuting from the NT into Central, and from NT to Pokfulam. I live in Shatin and very seldom go to Pokfulam esp by public transport. From Hung Hom to Pokfulam it takes a good 45-60 mins by bus depending on traffic. Living in the NT and getting a car to drive to Pokfulam for work (by Western Tunnel) will be quicker but the costs of running the car & tunnel fees will not give you the cost savings you want/need.

  5. #5
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisa88 View Post
    There is a difference commuting from the NT into Central, and from NT to Pokfulam. I live in Shatin and very seldom go to Pokfulam esp by public transport. From Hung Hom to Pokfulam it takes a good 45-60 mins by bus depending on traffic. Living in the NT and getting a car to drive to Pokfulam for work (by Western Tunnel) will be quicker but the costs of running the car & tunnel fees will not give you the cost savings you want/need.
    Yes, but the East Rail is a MUCH slower train than the West Rail. Personally, I would never choose to live along the East Rail line if I had to commute--I had to commute to University Station for about 3-4 months last year and I HATED riding that train--it felt like we were moving in slow motion. There are frequent buses that go up to Pok Fu Lam from Central and are easy to catch. If you live in NT West you can go almost directly to Central (you don't have to go to Hung Hom) by going to Nam Cheong and switching to the Tung Chung line. It is literally 12 minutes from my house to Nam Cheong and 8 or less minutes from Nam Cheong to Central.

    I know several people who own cars (granted, they are second-hand and were cheap to purchase and maintain) and live in the NT and find it to be a very manageable way of doing things. It just depends on how much money you have to spend (are you the type that can afford to take a taxi every day to get around--if so, then you can afford a car) and what your priorities are.

    How cheap can rent/mortgage possibly be if you live in Pok Fu Lam? For a place that has room for 5 people (and children's toys etc--not even including if you want an okay view)--is it even possible to get a place where you would want children living that would be considered nice for under 15-20K/month? I'm asking because honestly, I don't know. Maybe someone who owns a car in HK can chime in on how much they really spend a month on using it (parking+tunnel fees+petrol+maintenance=??$$??).

    When you get up to THREE children, getting around by public transport can not only become a hassle, it can also become spendy. It's one thing to cart one child around but....
    Last edited by thanka2; 02-11-2011 at 03:25 PM.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  6. #6
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    what about pokfulam gardens? does that fall within our budget? as it's an older complex it has a lot of "usable" space if you know what i mean....also, there are places near HKU Flora Ho - right behind the playground area that might be more affordable - layouts are also OK...

    I wouldn't move too far - with 3 children you will definitely want your husband around MORE rather than less...in fact we are expecting #3 and my husband who is currently working in NT is looking for a job in HK so that he can spend less time on the road.

  7. #7
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    I'm interested in this topic because I've been considering moving out to PFL side... we have a lot of drs appts at QMH as well as DK in Sandy Bay and if we move out that side, I'd save a LOT of time and money on commuting. But I have no idea what is out there in the more affordable bracket. We can't afford Belchers/Bel Air etc at the moment.

  8. #8
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Nic... I think if you moved over to where Frenchy is, the size and rent is probably about the same as where you're at. I remember looking at rents there when we were considering a move (we also looked at your area too). At that time on gohome.com.hk, you could simply click a budget and click HK Island as a place and all the available apartments that fit your budget and size came up. I don't think you can do that anymore after they revamped the site.
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

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