Hong Kong has a huge range of properties for rent and finding the right one for your and your family is crucial to enjoying your time in the city. Are you after an apartment, a low-rise or a village home? Do you want to be near the beach, restaurants, schools and public transport? When it comes to helping expats find a place to live, few could argue that there is anyone better placed than Stella Abraham, Head of Residential Leasing and Relocation Services at JLL.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Stella has an insider’s knowledge of the city and has also experienced living in the UK and the US before relocating back to Hong Kong with a young child. So it’s safe to say she has an intimate understanding of the issues facing expats.
She now leads a team with a combined experience of 170 years that provides services in property search, tenancy management, landlord ser vices, orientation and schooling consultation to both new arrivals and established expats.
Stella likens the experience of relocating to fitting all the pieces of a puzzle together. That puzzle becomes particularly complex when you throw children and schools into the mix, as she did when she returned to HK with her seven-year-old son in tow.
Stella acknowledges the Hong Kong property market is a complex one for newcomers, but JLL aims to give guidance and support, and reduce the stress of searching for a property. “Our service is more client-focused than others,” she says. “We have targets, but I want people to have long-term relationships. That’s more important to us than the next deal.”
The team is also able to share detailed market knowledge with clients, thanks to JLL’s well-established relationships with both corporate and individual landlords. This comes in handy when trying to match people to specific properties of interest. “I can have those conversations surrounding whether or not a property will come up in two months, and I can then say to the client, ‘Okay, stay in a serviced apartment for a month and just hang there, and we will get you in’,” she says.
Stella adds that JLL adapts to meet the needs of its clients, many of whom have been impacted by the demise of big expat salary packages. “That’s a trend that we have seen come about rapidly in Hong Kong, and it’s much more of an emotional game, as it’s now your money that you’re spending here, not your employer’s,” she says.
This change has meant that, while they predominantly deal in the HK$50,000 to $200,000 monthly rental bracket, they now also have clients looking in the HK$30,000 market. She says her team has a good understanding of the different areas of Hong Kong and what is achievable.
The other development in the rental market is what Stella refers to as “secondtime Hong Kongers” – seasoned expats looking for something different after their first lease ends. “In Hong Kong, life changes very quickly,” she says. “You may have come in on a corporate budget with HK$150,000 a month, you may have had a baby, you may want to go to a low-rise now, or you may want to move out to a different location.”
There’s also a growing number of expats looking for property away from traditional enclaves as many companies set up headquarters on Kowloon side. “People are being a bit more adventurous, particularly with schools opening up on that side,” she says. But with these new opportunities come new considerations for families. “Life changes and that’s OK, as long as you have someone to help you through it.”
HOT PROPERTIES FOR RENT
Rent: HK$90K incl.
Size: 1,590 sq. ft (Saleable)
A stone’s throw from the beachfront, this three bedroom apartment is situated in a family-friendly low-rise complex. The development also includes a swimming pool and children’s playground, so there’s something to suit everyone!
Area: Shouson Hill
Rent: $165K excl.
Size: 3,560 sq. ft (Saleable)
It’s a challenge to find a five-bedroom residence in Hong Kong, and this well-proportioned house comes with a private garden and terrace, and access to a communal outdoor pool. It’s situated in Shouson Hill, only 10 minutes from the city, but far enough to feel like an escape.
Area: Mid-Levels East
Rent: $90K incl.
Size: 2,351 sq. ft
You won’t feel like you are in an apartment with this spacious 3-bedroom property with a good-sized balcony which lends itself to outdoor entertaining. The apartment has a modern kitchen and bathrooms. It’s convenient location is well serviced by public transport.
Rent: $55K incl.
Size: 1,324 sq. ft
6/F, Three Pacific Place, 1 Queen’s Road East, Admiralty
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 2846 5540
For more information check out our living in Hong Kong section