Cost of living in Hong Kong: Your guide

Any relocation is sure to cost you a pretty penny, but living in Hong Kong can be especially expensive. The city is known as one of the most expensive in the world. A tourist or an expat looking to move there might be shocked by the prices of housing, food, and even public transportation. However, this is not always the case. There are ways to cut costs even in this city. This guide will give you the full picture of the cost of living in Hong Kong. It will certainly prepare you for what’s to come if you choose this city for your upcoming move.

Cost of living in Hong Kong – housing

Due to overpopulation, the prices of houses and apartments are very high. With over 7 million people living in the city, it is no surprise that there is a struggle for space. The price of your rent will depend on the location and the size of your home. Many apartments in Hong Kong are ‘studio flats’, which is telling of their size. The cheapest of the range are rented for around $8000 HKD a month, which is around $1000 USD. No apartment is smaller than a 100 square feet, but there are other housing option which don’t exactly fall under the category of an ‘apartment’. Cheaper options are available if you decide to go off the Hong Kong island. Moreover, many residents choose to live with a roommate in order to reduce costs.

An aerial view of a street in Hong Kong.
Finding a cheap flat in Hong Kong is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

If you know that you will be moving into a smaller home than your current one, you should consider placing your items in a storage unit. Many professional moving companies rent out storage space in Hong Kong for those who just can’t find the room.

Cost of food in Hong Kong

The money you spend on food in Hong Kong will depend on your preferences and your ability to adapt to local cuisine. Western food is a lot more expensive than Cantonese, and many expats choose to try their native dishes instead of splurge on what they are used to. Many people in Hong Kong eat out, but not necessarily in expensive restaurants. You can have a meal for two at a local restaurant for around $80 HKD, which is really cheap. Moreover, most of the less expensive apartments in Hong Kong don’t have a kitchen, so you will be forced to try eating out. If and when you do buy groceries, visit the local wet markets for the freshest produce.

Cost of life in Hong Kong – utilities

What is surprising is that utilities in Hong Kong are cheaper than in most cities of its size. If you live alone and cook often, you will likely spend around $200 HKD on gas per month. Furthermore, the electricity bill for an individual living alone can go from $200 to $700 HKD. The price will go up in the summer, however, as you will likely be using the air conditioning all day. The television and cable bills usually range from $300 to $500 HKD a month, and you can have a cell phone plan from $80 to $500 HKD per month, depending on how much you use it.

In order to save money on your move, you should rent a reputable, but also an affordable international moving company. That way, you can spend the money on yourself and your family.

Transportation in Hong Kong

For a city of this size, public transportation is the way to travel. Most people in the city do not own cars and use public buses or taxis. Both of these options are very cheap and shouldn’t cost you more than $50 HKD a day. With a network of subways, buses, and minibusses, there is always a cheap way to get around town.

Public transportation in Hong Kong is a cheap way to get around town.

Cost of living in Hong Kong – education

It’s not always easy to prepare your children for moving abroad, and finding proper education is key. For those who attend public schools in Hong Kong, education is free. However, this is only an option for those who speak fluent Cantonese. This is why many people who move here from another country choose to enroll their children in private school. These schools offer classes in English and have a more Western style of teaching and organization. On the other hand, these private schools are very expensive. Tuition fees can go as high as $200,000 HKD, and there are additional costs as well. However, some international companies cover the costs of this tuition for their employees. If you are relocating for work, make sure that you are aware of what costs your company will cover.

Shopping in Hong Kong

While the food in Hong Kong might set you back, other necessities such as deodorant, toothpaste, and other products for personal hygiene are fairly cheap. The same goes for clothing in this city. Clothes and shoes are no more expensive than those in other cities of the Western society. In fact, you can find them even cheaper. The city is known for its tailoring industry. This is why many residents choose to have custom clothes and suits made. The cheaper suits can cost around $4000 HKD, while those in more exclusive places can go up to $10000. If you are a professional, this might be the right investment for you. Proper attire is highly valued in the professional world of Hong Kong.

Clothes are an important part of the cost of living in Hong Kong.
Shopping in Hong Kong can be surprisingly inexpensive.

Cost of living in Hong Kong – taxes

With the high cost of living comes the benefit of paying some of the lowest taxes in the world. The highest possible income tax is at 17%. Moreover, you will only pay taxes for the money you make in Hong Kong. There are many tax deductions to take advantage of, such as claiming close relatives as dependents. Additionally, there is no inheritance or capital gains tax applicable in the city. Finally, if you are working for a company overseas, you will only pay taxes for income classified as ‘income attributable to the services you render in Hong Kong’. You can find more information on paying taxes in Hong Kong on its government website.

Are you ready for your relocation?

If you choose to move to Hong Kong, you should know what’s waiting on the other side. Start your planning and organizing a couple of months ahead, so that you can be ready when the day comes. Do your own research into the cost of living in Hong Kong, and you will be sure to have a wonderful adventure.

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