Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Finding a flat

The average size of a Hong Kong apartment.

As you know, Hong Kong is full of lank tall buildings - many of which are shoddily-built, cheap, crap accommodation - due to the ever-neccesary need to house the 7 million people dwelling here. Think 10-story buildings with no lifts, 200sq ft studio apartments (divide by about 10.7 for sq metres) going for HK$10 000 (about R9000) per month because flats here are hard to come by and so the price is quite ridiculous.

It's not easy. You are not going to live in a big flat, you will not have a garden. Buying a flat solely on space... well that philosophy will disappoint you - and your prioroties need changing. That being said, you are going to be looking for property amongst the glinty lights of one of the most beautiful skylines in the world, so there are, of course, definite benefits in living here.

It does mean that your factors which decide whether a flat is good or not change. As I mentioned, throw space out of the window. What you want in that sense is storage and place to store furniture. We want a 2-bedroom place, but there's no point in two rooms if one of them is too small to put stuff in (which is the case with plenty). We want one bedroom where we'll sleep, and to use the other as an office and guest room, so it will need a desk and sleeper couch to fit snugly - problem is that with an open sleeper couch in Hong-Kong-number-two-bedrooms is that the bedroom door won't close. I swear, these apartments are that small.

Kitchen space also seems a concern for many prospective renters, as every estate agent we've come across tells us about the size of it. Well, from our point of view, if the house has a microwave in it, a place for the cleaner to wash the dishes and somewhere to keep the beer cold, we're quite pleased.

Furniture in this city is as cheap as chips. Second-hand furniture is, obviously, even cheaper. We are going to check out some oke's spread of stuff this evening, where for about R1000 we will get a couch, tables, chairs, wardrobe and some useful extra appliances thrown in like a rice cooker (hahahaha) and a shoe rack (collectively, Mike and I own six pairs of shoes). It does mean that we don't need to find a furnished place, which we expected we'd have to do when we arrived.

Getting out of this tiny studio "serviced" apartment is goal number one. We're both getting a bit antsy living in such a tiny space - I am starting to be able to empathise with the Chilean miners - and we have way too much stuff to fit in here (and four boxes which are being shipped, currently en route to Hong Kong). We are out of the flat regularly - running every night, eating out, testing out the plethora of bars in this district (we're right near Soho), I often meet Mike for lunch during the day, exploring other parts of Hong Kong as well as planning our first Asia trip, which, currently, is looking like Seoul, but we're not really sure yet.

Hopefully when we do decide to go, it's from a base which we can call home. We're pretty close to choosing one now, so cross your bloody fingers. It's where you're staying when you come and visit.


  1. After taking a trip to HK this year it's on the top of my list of cities to live in. Love that there's this how-to-move-to-Hong-Kong guide forming on your blog :)

  2. @JJ

    It's a pretty damn awesome city. Tomorrow we've been here for 2 weeks and I cannot tell you how much I love it. I have s many things to write about it... it's incredible. Move here, definitely!