Living in Hong Kong as an expat is a costly exercise, be under no illusions. But a few small adjustments can save significant costs here. We break down and summarise the cost of living in Hong Kong.
The Cost of Rent
Renting in Hong Kong can vary hugely but generally, the biggest variable is living on Hong Kong Island, or not. For a compact two-bedroom flats in a relatively central area (Hong Kong Island), you will pay around HK$25,000. Head towards the more popular areas on Hong Kong Island (like Soho or Central) and accommodation goes up by 20-30% to HK$30,000-HK$35,000. For more on cost and where’s good to live, visit our where to live guide.
How to Save
- If you are looking to save money, head for Kowloon. Here you will find accommodation at a fraction of the cost and with far greater space. You can find a flat for between HK$10,000 and HK15,000 here – compared to the prices mentioned above on Hong Kong Island. New Territories will also give you more space and facilities for your money. This is a popular choice with expat families. Fully serviced condominiums are plentiful here but the trade-off is the commute. Hong Kong is very well serviced transport-wise so you’re never that isolated.
- Using a flatshare site like EasyRoomMate can save you a significant amount of time and money when looking for your first home in Hong Kong. This is also a great way to make new friends when moving to Hong Kong.
For more information on accommodation, visit out our accommodation section.
Electricity & Water costs are relatively expensive. For a two-bed apartment you should expect to pay around HK$1000-HK$1500 per month on electricity and water depending on usage of course. Don’t forget to switch off the air-con when you don’t need it- it’ll save you a lot!
Cost of transport in Hong Kong is extremely good value. Buy an Octopus card at any MTR station or in 7Eleven and you’ll save hugely on bus and MTR travel. Taxis are also extremely good value- a 5km trip will set you back around HK$50. The starting fee is just under HK$20
Grocery Shopping in Hong Kong is expensive as almost everything is imported. Also, many people in HK eat out most of the time, partly because eating out can be very cheap, but it could also be because of lack of facilities in their accommodation.
Here is a list of prices to give you an idea (estimated):
Bag of Ground Coffee: HK$65-85
Minced meat (250g): HK$60
Butter (227g): HK$35-40
Fresh Milk (1L): HK$20
Loaf of Sliced Bread: HK$15-20
Bottle of beer: HK$11-15
Drinking in Hong Kong can be quite reasonable but can sky-rocket as your new expat social might too. An average bar will set you back HK$30-40 for a pint of lager or beer and HK$70 for a glass of wine. Depending on your taste, prices can go as high as you like: a beer in certain places can reach over HK$100. For more on Drinking in Hong Kong, click here.
Eating in Hong Kong can cost as much or as little as you like, from HK$15 at a stall to HK$5,000 at one of Hong Kong’s fine dining joints. For more on Dining in Hong Kong, click here.
The cost of living in Hong Kong can be relatively high when it comes to your children’s education. International schools’ tuition fees can range from HK$90,000-HK$200,000 per year for secondary education and between HK$45,000 and HK$100,000 for primary education.
One thing to consider is that the tax rate in Hong Kong is one of the lowest in the world, so you will have a significantly larger monthly sum at your disposal. So remember to consider the cost of living in Hong Kong relative to your NET income each month. For a more detailed look, please visit our income tax blog.