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Moving to HK

  1. #1
    Draymond is offline Registered User
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    Mar 2013
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    Bangkok
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    Moving to HK

    Hi mummies,

    My husband and I are considering moving to HK for work and we are working out the finances now. I know that rental is the killer, and takes up most of the salary! Also, I heard that the air pollution is bad in HK... I have a few questions which I hope someone can help me with.

    1. How much would it cost to buy a car in HK? What is the monthly expenses (including car loan repayment)? Looking for a MPV, second hand is fine.

    2. How much would monthly groceries cost (food and toiletries etc) for family of 6?

    3. I heard that the air pollution can be very bad at times. Have you seen the effects of it on your kids? Is it true that kids are more susceptible to asthma because of the air quality? Will they have to stay indoors most of the time?

    4. Is it possible to get a 2000 sqf apartment with 4 rooms for HKD70,000? Preferably not in the Central/city area where the air quality is bad

    Sorry for all the questions, but we're really starting from scratch here, so any bit of information will help. Thanks!

  2. #2
    penguinsix is offline Registered User
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    May 2010
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    Midlevels
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    171
    Hi,

    I think the first question I'd ask is about schools--what are you going to do for schools? International schools or local? If International you should be applying now (yea, now) unless you have a debenture or some other way to move to the head of a very, very long line. Most people say 'schools first, housing second' as you can find yourself with quite a long commute to schools.

    As for some of the other bits, it's best if you take a look yourself and start to assess what is available. Take a look at gohome.com.hk or squarefoot.com.hk and see what $70,000 HKD will get you per month. A four bedroom is possible, though it might not be in your first choice building or neighborhood if you are hoping to live in an expensive expat areas like Repulse Bay or Stanley. It really depends on your tolerance for a commute, your school location, and office location. And note there are two sq footage measurements listed--one for 'gross area' and one for 'saleable area'. The latter is what you will actually live in, the 'gross area' includes a communal share of playrooms, tennis courts, lobbies, etc. You can also look at food prices on sites like wellcome.com.hk which is one of the main groceries in HK.

    I don't have a car. I would like one. I certainly don't need one. Driving here is not overly difficult but there is a lack of parking in many parts of town and for many quick trips it is simply easier to hail a taxi. In fact, I think my monthly taxi expenses are probably about the same cost as a parking space in my building, not to mention the very expensive gasoline costs. With a bunch of kids at different parts of the city all throughout the day it might become necessary. Have you budgeted for a driver too?

    Air pollution affects different people in different ways. Some kids develop "the Hong Kong cough" or find themselves more easily falling sick from the variety of things kids get at school and whatnot. If your child already has a respiratory problem, then its something very different--you may not want to even come here. While certain areas suffer from heavier pollution, such as Central and Mongkok where car exhaust can be heavy and trapped by the large buildings, when the winds blow the pollution down from the mainland basically all of Hong Kong exceeds World Health Organization guidelines. At this moment, where we actually have 'blue skies' in view, nearly every reporting station in the city is over 150% of WHO guidelines for particulate matter. On really bad days we see 200-300% of the maximums at some reporting stations.

  3. #3
    Liquorice is offline Registered User
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    Jan 2010
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    Hong Kong
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    510
    Hi Draymond,

    Regarding the car, it's difficult to give an indication of cost really as it depends what you're buying, how old the model is, where you live, how much you'll use it etc.

    If you live in town, as penguinsix says, you may not need one. If you live on the South Side it is more convenient to have one. And if you live in the New Territories (Saikung) then I feel it is essential - but not everyone would agree. You can buy cars from HK$50k to HK$1m. My insurance has typically been around $4-7k a month dependent on the car I've had. My car parking space costs about $800 per month. It costs about $1000 to fill my car up with fuel and I do that once a fortnight, but I used to do it once a week when I was commuting. But again, that's just me, it all depends on your own circumstances.

    We have actually just dropped down to one car. My husband sold his car because he travels a lot and he figures its actually much cheaper to get a taxi to work when he's home. But then he had an old classic car which was pretty high in insurance and quite expensive to maintain.

    You should check out some of the classifieds sections like this one AsiaXpat classifieds and search for car dealers in HK to see what they are selling (though my experience with dealers here hasn't been great).

    Oh, and 2000 sq ft for $70k is easily doable in the New Territories. Saikung and Clearwater Bay areas are nice.

  4. #4
    Draymond is offline Registered User
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    Mar 2013
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    Bangkok
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    Thanks for your replies! Very helpful.

    My twins are 2 years old, so they will be going to pre-school. Yes, good idea to start with the school but will also need to juggle with the budget at hand. Thanks everyone!

  5. #5
    Draymond is offline Registered User
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    I have read up on some of the areas we can live in, and currently quite interested in Clearwater Bay (although its a little far). Its about 15 minutes to nearest MTR station. There are some pre-schools in that area too I heard. I understand usually pre-schools don't need debentures... but is it difficult to get into them?

    The other places I am considering are Kowloon Tong (nice low density area and near MTR) but I'm not too sure about the pollution there? Also not sure about pre-schools there, I know there are quite a few international schools but more for primary/secondary education.

    Also in the South, there's Repulse Bay, Tai Tam but that seems a little far for travelling and no MTRs (not even a near one).

    Discovery Bay I am not interested because no cars/taxis allowed and I'm not sure I can deal with living in a place only accesible by ferry/bus (what happens in case of emergency???)

  6. #6
    charade is offline Registered User
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    Jun 2010
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    TKO
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    Kowloon Tong has loads of kindergartens, some very prestigious and hard to get into. But others are easier. The pollution on the main waterloo road is heavy but the inner streets where the buildings are better. But I'm not that sensitive to pollution so can't say if it's better or wrose than other areas.

  7. #7
    starbucks2 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    712
    Hi

    In terms of DB and an emergency, medical emergency would mean an ambulance - there is usually one in DB at the fire station. Other non-medical emergencies a number of options (1) you can get a hire car (which is a van) which you can book to go outside DB (2) other bookable cars too but I have not had to investigate exact details but know friends who have booked them for post baby delivery return to DB, (3) catch a bus to the tunnel (5 mins from DB) and book a taxi to meet you (4) leave your own car in Sunny Bay (10 min bus to DB). We've been here 3 years and don't really miss our car, in fact with the way some mini bus drivers and taxi drivers drove when we lived in Midlevels, it's nice for the kids to ride bikes and scooters without them nearby!

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