Friday, 9 July 2010

Looking for Flats

Moving back to Hong Kong is a surreal experience.

It's not like previous visits where the stay is only for a week or a few days. You are actually going to live here for a long time. Again.

There isn't much need to carry a map; you know where practically everything is, apart from a few shops or offices that have moved.

But it's different from Beijing where I have just came from, where everything is a fraction of the price of things here.

Which brings me to the dilemma of finding a place to live.

I have lived in a number of places in Hong Kong -- a relative's apartment in Pokfulam; another in Tokwawan; in the YWCA, Mid-Levels, Central and then finally Sheung Wan.

And now with a job in Central, I'm looking to find a place in Sheung Wan again, walking distance from the office and near some wet markets to get fresh (and cheap) produce to cook.

However, the hunt for a place is discouraging.

I arbitrarily pick a real estate agent's office in the Sheung Wan neighbourhood and when I tell them my price range for a flat, they tell me it's near impossible. To find a place under HK$8,000 ($1,028) is going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. Oh boy.

The agent shows me a place on Gage Street nearby. It's in an old building with a rickety elevator. Although the place was recently renovated, the bathroom still looks a mess -- why the inconsistency? -- and it's one small open space with a tiny counter and sink which is supposed to be a kitchen.

The place just had a bad vibe to it.

And the landlord was asking for over HK$8,000 for it. Right.

The agent later told me that the rents at the place I used to rent in Sheung Wan are now over HK$10,000 ($1,285). Aiya.

I keep forgetting that nine years have passed since I last lived here. Of course things are going to get more expensive, especially when it comes to Hong Kong.

I'm going to have to either shell out more for a place in the same area, or look further away from Central for a decent space. Or of course think smaller -- like the size of a matchbox.

As I said, it's a surreal experience being back, and having to remember that things cost more than what they used to almost a decade a go.

Time really does fly by...


  1. Yay! Congrats on your move back. Does this mean that you never saw all my witty and pithy comments???

  2. I'm catching up on your witty and pithy comments now!

  3. That's why I'm not sure if I ever want to move back again even though the thought is seriously tempting