The Cost of Living 2013: Hong Kong-Style

Hong Kong is an expensive city to live in by any world standard. Hundreds of studies confirm it and most residents believe it. Sometimes we even seem proud of it, shocking our family and friends overseas with the rents we pay and the cost of fuel or a round of drinks.

 

According to a 2013 global cost-of-living report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, Hong Kong is the 14th most expensive city in the world to live in, and is ranked 4th within Asia (excluding property prices).

 

But what exactly makes the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) such a costly place to live, and how do so many manage to cope with the expense?

 

High prices for vehicles and consumer durables all contribute to the high cost of living. Healthcare is also extremely costly (unless you go down the excellent but slow public healthcare route) and all those nights out on the town and entertaining can quickly add up.

 

But it’s the shortage of land and the prices people pay for owning and leasing property that pushes Hong Kong to the top of the charts in Asia.

 

However, all hope is not lost in this pricey city. You’ll soon find your favourite Happy Hour and uncover your own Hong Kong “finds”.

 

Public transport is a real bargain as well as being clean, safe and frequent. Taxis are also reasonably priced making it fairly easy to survive without a car in Hong Kong.

 

Hong Kong people also love to bargain, so never rule out the power of negotiation when dealing with landlords and independent business owners. In fact, it’s often expected. Legitimate bargains, discount and used goods stores exist all over the city and can save you a bundle. But like most treasure, they may require a bit of a hunt.

 

If money is no object, then Hong Kong is an easy place to blow your bank balance. But if you have an eye for a bargain and enjoy the challenge of getting the best deal for your money, then you’re also in good company.

 

The following list provides a general price reference for some everyday goods and services. Keep in mind that the prices listed are mid-range unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

Voice your opinion and let us know if you think we need to include more items on the list in this thread.

 

 

ITEMS

2013 Average Price HK$

2013 Average Price US$

LIFESTYLE & ENTERTAINMENT

HK$

US$

Dinner for two – mid-range (excl. wine)

600

77

Dinner for two – top restaurant (excl. wine)

1,100

142

Pack of cigarettes

50

6

Cocktail in Lan Kwai Fong

80

10

Bottle of Heineken in Lan Kwai Fong

50

6

Glass of wine

70

9

Pint of  beer

50

6

Set lunch SoHo/Lan Kwai Fong (excl. wine)

95

12

Takeaway Lunch (lunchbox from local eatery)

35

5

Takeaway Lunch (lunchbox from western eatery)

66

9

Sandwich (Oliver’s/Starbucks)

35

5

Starbucks Tall Latte

30

4

Big Mac Value Meal

31

4

Movie ticket

70 – 125

9 – 16

International theatre/music event

400 – 1,000

52 – 129

Local theatre/music event

100 – 350

13 – 45

Best-selling paperback novel

135

17

HOUSING

HK$

US$

Monthly rent for a 85m2 (900sqft) furnished apartment in Mid-Levels

36,000 – 50,000

4,639 – 6,443

Monthly rent for a 85m2 (900sqft) unfurnished apartment in Mid-Levels

28,000 – 40,000

3,608 – 5,128

Monthly rent for a 85m2 (900sqft) serviced apartment on Hong Kong Island

40,000 – 70,000

5,128 – 8,974

UTILITIES

HK$

US$

Water per quarter

400

52

Gas per month

200

26

Electricity per month for a 85m2 (900sqft) apartment

1,000 – 1,500

129 – 193

GROCERY SHOPPING

HK$

US$

Meat
Brazilian previously frozen whole chicken, 1.3kg (supermarket)

32.90

4

US chilled organic chicken 1.3kg (supermarket)

156

20

Australian chilled hormone free whole chicken 1.5kg (specialist butcher)

217

28

Australian beef sirloin steak, 150gm (supermarket)

25.90

3

Beverages
Coffee, ground 227gm

60

8

Twinings Earl Grey Tea Bags, 25pcs

28.40

4

Perrier Sparkling Water 750 ml

17.90

2

Evian Mineral Water 1.5L

19.90

3

Tanqueray Gin, 750ml

268

35

Absolut Vodka, 750ml

179

23

White wine – Sauvignon Blanc, 750ml

59 – 159

7.60 – 20.50

Red wine – Cabernet Sauvignon, 750ml

59 – 169

7.60 – 21.80

Heineken Beer Can, 6-pack, 330ml

44.90

6

CocaCola, 2L

12.90

2

Groceries
Olive oil 500ml

50

6

Fresh baked bread from western bakery

28 – 40

3.60 – 4.50

Whole wheat sandwich bread 8 slices

10

1

Thai brown rice, 1.5kg

25.90

3

Thai white rice, 2kg

27.90

4

Spaghetti, 500gm

12.50

2

Local eggs, 6 pcs

11.90

2

Imported free range eggs, 6pcs

45.90

6

Pasta sauce, 400gm

26.90

3

Instant oatmeal, 800gm

22.90

3

Dairy Products
Australian fresh milk 1 litre

35.90

5

Local fresh milk 1 litre

22.90

3

Plain yoghurt 100gm – 125gm

8.90 – 12.90

1.15 – 1.65

Imported Cheddar Cheese 250gm

49.50

6

Fruits & Vegetables
Fuji Apple, per piece

3.90

1

US Strawberries, 454gm

29.90

4

Mixed salad leaves, washed, 270gm

46.90

6

Personal Care
Multivitamins 100 tablets

245

32

Pain & fever medicine – Panadol, 20 tabs

51.90

7

Tampons, 1 box of 20

39 – 43.50

5 – 5.60

Baby Needs
Enfamil Stage 1 Milk Formula, 900gm

294

38

Wyeth Illuma Stage 1 Milk Formula, 900gm

499

64

Bellamy Organic stage 1 Milk Formula, 900gm

329

42

Newborn Diapers (Pampers) 40pcs

45

6

Newborn Diapers (Huggies)  35pcs

50

6

Source: ParknShop, Marketplace, Pacific Gourmet, Great Food Hall
COMMUNICATIONS & BROADBAND SERVICES

HK$

US$

PCCW Landline per month

110

14

Netvigator 100M basic home broadband plan

398

51

Now Broadband HD TV

123 – 242

15.85 – 31.20

Mobile Phone – 2G basic package, 1,000 mins, Hutchinson 3

88

11

Mobile Phone – 3G basic package, 1,200 mins, Hutchinson 3

138

18

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

HK$

US$

Minimum taxi fare for 2 km or less

20

3

Taxi: Central to Stanley

130

17

Bus: Central to Stanley

11

1

Taxi: Mid-Levels to Central

32

4

Minibus: Mid-Levels to Central

6.20

1

Escalator: Mid-Levels to Central

FREE!

0

Tram (anywhere)

2.30

0

Star Ferry (Central/Wan Chai to TST)

2.50 – 3.40

0.30 – 0.45

MTR: Central to TST

9

1

MTR: Central to Kwun Tong

13

2

KCR: TST East to Lo Wu (China border)

39

5

CARS

HK$

US$

Car Luxury: Mercedes S65 AMG

2,915,000

375,644

Car SUV: Hyundai Tucson

208,000

26,804

Car Compact: Mazda 2

159,900

20,606

Car Registration Fee 1500cc – 2500cc

5,794

747

Petrol/gas, unleaded, per litre

17

2

EDUCATION

HK$

US$

Pre-school (half-day) per annum

48,000 – 123,600

6,186 – 15,928

International primary school per year

66,100 – 155,700

8,518 – 20,064

International secondary school per year

98,000 – 180,200

12,629 – 23,222

HEALTHCARE

HK$

US$

General Practitioner at local neighbourhood private clinics

120

15

General Practitioner at expat private clinics

800

103

Specialist

900

116

Eye Test (free at opticians)

FREE

0

X-ray

320

41

Dentist (Check-up)

600

77

Physiotherapist

650

84

WELLNESS & PERSONAL CARE

HK$

US$

Monthly gym membership

300 – 1,200

39 – 155

Yoga – drop-in classes

250 – 300

32 – 39

One hour massage at spa

600

77

Pedicure and manicure at spa

350

45

Facial at spa

600

77

Standard men’s hair cut

300 – 800

39 – 103

Standard women’s hair cut

400 – 1,000

52 – 129

ELECTRICAL GOODS

HK$

US$

Samsung 32″ LCD TV

5,680

732

Samsung 42″ LCD TV

7,680

990

Philips DVD Player

339

44

LG Blu-ray Player

690 – 2,500

89 – 322

Panasonic Refrigerator, 219L

3,380

436

Whirlpool Washing Machine, front load, 5.5kg capacity

3,390

437

Panasonic dehumidifier, 15L

4,380

564

Mobile Phone – Samsung Galaxy S4

5,898

760

Mobile Phone – iPhone 5 32GB

6,388

823

Mobile Phone 3G – Samsung Galaxy S III mini

2,800

361

Source: Fortress, SmarTone, Apple
COMPUTERS

HK$

US$

Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook [2.7 GHz, 8GB DDR3 Memory, 14.0″ HD LED Display]

5,800

747

Lenovo IdeaPad G400 [4GB Memory,14″ HD Display]

5,498

709

MacBook Air [2.6 GHz, 256 GB flash storage, 4GB memory, 13″ Display]

9,988

1,287

Source: Fortress, Apple
CLOTHES

HK$

US$

1 pair of Levi’s 501

900

116

1 dress in a chain store (H&M, Zara, Esprit etc)

450

58

1 pair of Nike trainers

760

98

1 pair of men’s business shoes

1,500

193

 

 

If you want to do your own further research, here are some of the sources we referred to:

 

Groceries: Great Food HallPARKnSHOPMarketplacePacific GourmetWellcome

Housing: squarefoot.com.hkgohome.com.hk

Public Transportation: MTRCitybus and NWFBHK TramwaysStar Ferry

Electrical goods: Fortressprice.com.hk