A global milieu of top-class education, Hong Kong is a popular study choice for international students. Despite its allure, it’s no secret that finding affordable, available and liveable housing can be quite the challenge.
But Hong Kong’s intimidating housing market needn’t deter you from experiencing and enjoying this dynamic city to the full. Whether you prefer being in the thick of things or having some space to yourself, we’ve broken down some housing options, tips and tricks that will make your move to Hong Kong less stressful.
Note: 1 HKD = 0.79 GBP = 0.13 USD
Most institutions provide the option of living in student halls or in on-campus housing. Generally speaking, this is considered the cheapest option for prospective students at an average of HK$5,000-HK $20,200 per semester. On-campus housing is not only convenient for your studies but puts you right in the thick of student life.
Each university has separate housing application procedures that sometimes vary from undergraduate to postgraduate. They can usually be completed online. City University of Hong Kong provides accommodation for almost 3,700 students, with each of its residence halls having a unique legacy, Residence Master and often an Alumni Association. This sort of community atmosphere can take the edge off making new friends, especially if you’ve moved abroad alone.
Some universities even offer accommodation in the way of a college system, as with the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Students may apply for their course in affiliation with a particular college, each of which sports its own hostel, dining hall, range of student services and unique profile.
If you’d rather have some distance from campus, there are a number of agencies that specialise in student housing. You will generally have the choice between a small room, (generally around HK$3,500- HK$4,500 per month,) an average room (around HK$5,000-HK$6,000 per month,) or a large room (HK$6,000-HK$8,500 per month). Prices vary based on the location of the room and the relative room size within that area, i.e. a room in Causeway Bay at HK $5,000 may be considered small in relation to a room in Sham Sui Po of the same price. For a non-local, trying to take these factors into account can be very confusing and overwhelming.
Renting your own student studio apartment generally ranges from HK$6,000-HK$12,000 per month. Shared flats and housing may be more spacious and offer more creature comforts than in on-campus housing, and include different perks depending on the agency and property. The convenience of having housing sorted out before semester starts is also a big plus of using a student agency, and many also provide support services such as initial pick-ups from the airport or train stations.
Go it alone
Finally, for the most intrepid of adventurers, you can rent a room by seeking out agents and properties externally. Most areas in Hong Kong are considered quite safe for a developed city, but vary in price and size depending on location and demand. Once off Hong Kong Island, rent becomes cheaper the further north you go. It’s also more expensive to live on a higher floor as you’re further away from the city’s noise and pollution. It’s uncommon for a flat to come furnished, and it’s common practice for the first two weeks of rent to be waived as part of a settling-in period. Most flats will be signed through an agent who will take the amount of half a month’s rent from you as commission. Almost all contracts are a 12-month minimum term, and common areas for those on modest budgets include Kowloon and the New Territories. There is also a substantial price gap between rooms in old and new buildings: those with stairs instead of elevators are often much cheaper and offer more floor space.
Now that you have a better idea of where you can live in Hong Kong, start searching for a course in Hong Kong today!
Hong Kong Student Housing