Hong Kong Real Estate Market: The Expat Community

Buying a house in your local area or country can be stressful, but imagine how daunting and even more stressful it would be to purchase a house in a place where you know nothing of. Hong Kong, being the financial hub of Asia, you may have made a strategic decision to move there, or your company has decided to transfer you. Either way if your company is not providing accommodation, you will have to find an apartment or house yourself. Below are a few things, as an expat, you have to keep in mind when buying real estate in Hong Kong.

Buyer stamp duty
With every purchase of real estate comes a buyer stamp duty. This is a tax that is imposed on the documents that stand as evidence for a particular transaction that took place, and in this case buying of a house or apartment. This buyer stamp duty mainly affects expats who are not permanent residents of Hong Kong, having them pay 15% more of the actual value of the property than the locals, within a stipulated time.

Real Estate Agencies
Hong Kong has plenty of real estate agencies, from which you could choose from. Depending on what type of real estate you are looking for you could have a central or a mid level property agent to help you find your dream abode. This can make your search and the whole process of buying a house much easier, but you have to be aware of the different processes that goes with having an agency represent you. Remember to check for their licenses and also sign an estate agency agreement.

Background Check
It is always better to do some sort of research on the properties that you are interested in buying. You can either contact a central or mid level property agent and get some advice on this or go directly to the property information section of the Hong Kong government website and do the research yourself. It will cost you a mere fee of nine Hong Kong dollars, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

When it comes to mortgages, the process an expat has to go through is that of a local. The Hong Kong mortgage corporation has a mortgage insurance program (MIP) which gives individuals who are purchasing homes the advantage of only paying 10% of the price of the properties as the initial down payment. This mortgage insurance program is only offered to people that receive an income from within Hong Kong, which is not advantageous to people who are not thinking of staying for a long-term.

Hopefully, expats living in Hong Kong and going to take the plunge in moving there would find the above information helpful in getting through their house hunt easily.