Questions about moving to HK

Hi there and thank you for your great website, loads of useful information.

I currently am contemplating a move to HK as I have a potential opportunity there. It's a bit early stage, but if it materializes, it will be really quick.

I've gathered quite a bit of information, but there are 2 main ones which seem to elude me a bit, and maybe you can help:

* Rental cost: everywhere I look, I read something different. Once I read rents have gone down 30%, another they have gone up 10%. Then you read you need to negotiate 30% of the advertised price. Then you read that actually your rent is a random number generated somewhere on planet Mars depending on the phases of the moon and varies between 10k and 100k for the same flat! Seriously, if I want to decide whether I'll make the move, I need to budget correctly. The potential job is on HK island (I don't have more details for now), and I'll plan to live within roughly 30m commute at most. My question is how realistic is it going to be to find a 3 bedroom, 70+ square meters for less the 20k HK$. And more interestingly, could it be more like 10 or 15k? or am I deluding myself and it will be more like 30k?


* Second question is about schools. I've noticed on your website how expensive international schools are. But on the other hand, I'd pretty much like my kid to learn English and Chinese (whether mandarin or cantonese). The thing is, we speak neither of these languages at home, and although we are quite fluent in English, we'll never be in a position to help our kid in Chinese. Which means, if we decide to go for a local school, is it going to be possible for him without any help from his parents (and also us communicating with his teachers). Or are there any other options that offer solid education, Chinese learning for non-Chinese family and also being cost conscious (I have difficulties getting along with the concept of paying tons of money for education when in Europe you get it most of the time for free (well there are taxes but hey it does feel free ;)  ) Btw, are local schools free?

Thanks for your advice.



re: Questions about moving to HK

Rental costs: Yes, $20K a month for 700sq ft is definitely doable. You can spend a lot more or less depending on where you live and what facilities / environment you expect. Take a look at the GoHome website to get some idea, but you'll really need to look at some places. So, consider planning to have your first month or two in a hotel / serviced apartment (build that requirement into the contract if possible), so you have time to get a feel for Hong Kong's layout, and visit plenty of flats before making the decision which one to rent.

Schools: You don't say how old your child is. The older they are, the harder it will be. If they are still pre-kindergarten, they'll be able to handle learning the language ok, but you'll struggle with homework, and all the general admin matters. It will not be easy. There's a wide range of charges for local chinese-language schools, from free to outrageous - get an overview here.