Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Flat Hunting

The ever lovely, looks twenty-five years younger than she is, really smart and pretty wife and I want to move. She is changing jobs and will be working in the far wilderness of Tai Po starting in July and I already work in City One. She finds Causeway bay to be "convenient" where I just find it, crowded and undesirable. However, it is now too far away from where either of us work to live there so we are looking for a new flat. Yesterday was the third round of flat hunting. How frustrating.

Housing in Hong Kong is way, way, way over priced. That fact doesn't seem to register with anybody in the government here though which probably has something to do with the property developer's cartel that actually runs the place. It also seems that the government is oblivious to the way that the high cost of housing reduces Hong Kong's competitiveness; but that is another post for another time.

We decided to look a little farther North than Kowloon and have been looking in the Tai Po, Tai Wu areas. It is frustrating because the concept of farther out is cheaper does not really seem to apply anymore.

So, yesterday was Shenzhen which has become a real possibility. I think that Shenzhen is also over priced but it is a matter of degree. The same flat in Tai Po market that cost 4.5 million will cost a measly 1 million in Shenzhen. Shenzhen has come a long way in 10 years. It is clean, has done a good job of reducing crime, has wide sidewalks, tree lined streets and a Wal-Mart grocery store. Believe me, Americans may hate Wal-Mart in the US but they'll love it in China. All in all, Shenzhen has a lot going for it. But I don't know if I want to live there.

The real issues are more complex

The disadvantages
1. The commute time would be greater and I don't like the train.
2. Traveling outside China would be problematic
3. The unpredictability of the PRC government is another issue.
4. The almost non-existent sense of building maintenance exhibited by the people in China.
5. Having to carry two different currencies
6. While an SAR like Hong Kong it is still far more like China than Hong Kong.

The advantages
1. Much more space
2.Much less expensive
3. Better grocery stores
4. Less crowded
5. The mainland tourist all go to Hong Kong or Macao
6. traveling in China would be easier
7. I could own a Chevrolet
8. THBT is not the CE of Shenzhen
9. Long Hair Leung doesn't live there

It is really a tough call. The flats are much nicer and larger and cheaper. The issue is that do the disadvantages of living there out way the cost.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who is house hunting


Anonymous said...

another advantage - if you're not yet fluent in chinese you soon will be! I'd go for it!

Fai Mao said...

We are really considering it.

We made an offer on a flat there and are waiting for the owners to understand that we will not pay a "Foreigner Price"