The Ultimate Guide to the Cost of Living in Hong Kong: A Comprehensive Breakdown

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Hong Kong, with its bustling cityscape and vibrant culture, is an enticing destination for individuals and families alike. However, before embarking on a journey to this global metropolis, it is essential to understand the cost of living in Hong Kong. 

For a family of four, the estimated monthly cost of living in Hong Kong amounts to approximately HKD 30,756 (excluding rent) according to NUMBEO. If you’re an individual residing in Hong Kong, the estimated monthly costs without rent are approximately HKD 8,642

In this article, we will delve into the estimated expenses based on real data to give you a better understanding of the cost of living in Hong Kong.

cost of living in hong kong

Accommodation Expenses in Hong Kong

Accommodation expenses in Hong Kong are known to be among the highest in the world due to the limited land supply and high demand for housing. Here’s some in-depth information on accommodation expenses in Hong Kong:

Rental Prices

Rental prices in Hong Kong vary based on factors such as location, size, condition, and age of the property. The most expensive areas include Central, Causeway Bay, and Tsim Sha Tsui. Here are approximate monthly rental ranges for different types of properties:

  • Small Apartments/Studio: Rental prices for small apartments or studios in popular areas can range from HKD 15,000 to HKD 40,000 per month.
  • One-Bedroom Apartment: Renting a one-bedroom apartment in a central location can cost anywhere from HKD 20,000 to HKD 50,000 per month.
  • Larger Apartments/Houses: If you require a larger apartment or a house, the prices can go well beyond HKD 50,000 per month, especially in prime areas.

Property Purchase

Buying property in Hong Kong is a significant investment, and prices can be extremely high. The cost of purchasing an apartment or house is influenced by factors such as location, size, age, and facilities. Prices are typically quoted in terms of Hong Kong dollars per square foot. As of September 2021, the average cost of purchasing an apartment in the city ranged from HKD 15,000 to HKD 30,000 per square foot.

Deposit and Additional Fees

When renting an apartment in Hong Kong, landlords usually require a security deposit, typically equivalent to two to three months’ rent. Additionally, tenants may need to pay agency fees, which are usually around 50% of one month’s rent. It’s important to factor in these additional costs when considering accommodation expenses.

Types of Accommodation

Hong Kong offers various types of accommodation, ranging from high-rise apartments to traditional walk-up buildings. Some common types include:

  • Apartments: High-rise apartments are the most common form of accommodation in Hong Kong. They vary in size and amenities, and prices are influenced by factors such as floor level, view, and facilities within the building.
  • Serviced Apartments: These are fully furnished apartments with additional services such as housekeeping, utilities, and sometimes amenities like a gym or swimming pool. Serviced apartments are generally more expensive than regular apartments due to the added conveniences.
  • Village Houses: Located in the New Territories, village houses are standalone properties with their own land. They provide more space and are an option for those seeking a more suburban lifestyle. Prices for village houses vary based on size, location, and condition.

Tips for Finding Affordable Accommodation

  • Consider less central areas: Rent tends to be lower in areas farther from the city center. However, commuting time and transportation costs should also be taken into account.
  • Shared housing: Sharing an apartment with roommates can help reduce costs, especially for expatriates and students.
  • Utilize online resources: Websites and apps like Squarefoot, Spacious, and 28Hse provide listings of available properties for rent or purchase.
cost of living in hong kong

Food and Dining Costs in Hong Kong

Food and dining costs in Hong Kong can vary widely depending on the type of cuisine, dining establishment, and location. Here’s some information about food and dining costs in Hong Kong:

Grocery Shopping and Cooking at Home

Buying groceries and cooking at home can be a cost-effective option in Hong Kong. Supermarkets like Wellcome, ParknShop, and CitySuper offer a variety of fresh produce, meats, and ingredients at reasonable prices. By cooking at home, you can save money on dining expenses, especially if you stick to local ingredients and recipes. Here is a table about Hong Kong supermarket prices (source: NUMBEO):

Local Eateries and Street Food

Hong Kong is famous for its local eateries, including cha chaan tengs (Hong Kong-style diners) and dai pai dongs (open-air food stalls). Prices in local eateries can be relatively affordable, with a typical meal costing around HKD 50 to HKD 100 per person. Street food stalls offer a variety of inexpensive and delicious options, such as fish balls, egg waffles, and stinky tofu. Prices for street food items can range from HKD 10 to HKD 30 per serving.

Mid-range Restaurants

Hong Kong has a diverse range of mid-range restaurants serving various cuisines, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Western, and more. Prices at mid-range restaurants can vary, but expect to spend around HKD 150 to HKD 300 per person for a meal, depending on the type of cuisine and location.

Upscale and Fine Dining

Hong Kong is renowned for its upscale dining scene, with numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and high-end establishments. Fine dining experiences in Hong Kong can be quite expensive, with prices ranging from HKD 500 to several thousand Hong Kong dollars per person. High-end Western, Japanese, and Chinese restaurants are particularly popular among food enthusiasts.

International Cuisines

Hong Kong is a global city, offering a wide range of international cuisines from around the world. Prices for international cuisines can vary depending on the restaurant and location. Expect to spend around HKD 200 to HKD 500 per person for a meal at a decent international restaurant.

cost of living in hong kong

Transportation Expenses in Hong Kong

Transportation expenses in Hong Kong can vary depending on the mode of transportation and the distance traveled. Here’s some information about transportation costs in Hong Kong:

Mass Transit Railway (MTR)

The MTR is the backbone of Hong Kong’s public transportation system, providing a fast and efficient way to travel across the city. MTR fares are calculated based on the distance traveled. The fare ranges from approximately HKD 4 to HKD 20 for a single journey, depending on the distance and whether it is within the same or different fare zones

Using an Octopus card, a rechargeable smart card widely used for payments in Hong Kong, can provide convenience and slightly discounted fares compared to buying single-journey tickets.


Buses are another common mode of transportation in Hong Kong, serving various routes across the city and outlying areas. Bus fares are generally based on distance, with prices ranging from around HKD 4 to HKD 30 per journey. The exact fare can vary depending on factors such as the type of bus (double-decker, air-conditioned, etc.) and the length of the journey.


Hong Kong’s iconic trams, also known as “ding dings,” are a charming way to explore certain areas of the city. Tram fares are relatively inexpensive, with a flat fare of HKD 2.60 per journey, regardless of the distance traveled.


Taxis are widely available in Hong Kong and can be hailed on the street or found at designated taxi stands. Taxi fares include a flagfall charge (starting fare) and additional charges based on distance and waiting time.

Flagfall charges vary depending on the type of taxi (urban taxi, New Territories taxi, Lantau taxi) and can range from HKD 24 to HKD 30. Additional charges for distance are typically around HKD 1.70 to HKD 2.00 per 200 meters. There may be surcharges for tolls, luggage, and late-night trips.


Hong Kong’s geography includes numerous islands, and ferries are an essential mode of transportation to connect different areas. Ferry fares vary depending on the route and distance traveled, with prices typically ranging from HKD 2 to HKD 30 per journey.

Tips for Saving on Transportation

  • Consider purchasing an Octopus card for convenience and potential fare discounts.
  • Utilize weekly or monthly travel passes if you anticipate frequent travel on public transportation.
  • Compare prices and consider the most cost-effective mode of transportation for your specific journey.
  • Explore walking or cycling for shorter distances, as certain areas in Hong Kong are pedestrian-friendly.

Utility Costs in Hong Kong

Utility costs in Hong Kong generally include electricity, water, and internet services. Here’s some information about utility costs in Hong Kong:


Hong Kong’s electricity supply is reliable and efficiently managed. Electricity tariffs are calculated based on a two-tier progressive rate system, where the first tier (lower consumption) has a lower tariff and the second tier (higher consumption) has a higher tariff.

As of September 2021, the residential electricity tariff for the first tier ranged from approximately HKD 1.10 to HKD 1.30 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), while the tariff for the second tier was around HKD 1.30 to HKD 1.40 per kWh. The actual electricity bill will depend on the level of consumption and the specific tariff rates at the time.


Water supply in Hong Kong is provided by the Water Supplies Department, ensuring a clean and reliable source. The residential water tariff is based on a progressive rate structure, where the unit price increases as consumption rises.

As of September 2021, the residential water tariff ranged from approximately HKD 4.80 to HKD 9.00 per cubic meter (m³) depending on the consumption tier. The specific rate tiers and billing details may vary, so it’s important to check with the water supply authority for the latest information.

Internet and Broadband

Hong Kong has a well-developed and competitive internet service market, offering high-speed broadband connections. The cost of internet services can vary depending on the provider, the package selected, and the desired connection speed.

Prices for broadband internet packages typically range from approximately HKD 150 to HKD 500 per month, depending on the speed and additional features. It’s advisable to compare different service providers and packages to find the most suitable option for your needs.

Tips for Managing Utility Costs

  • Practice energy-saving habits to reduce electricity consumption, such as using energy-efficient appliances and turning off lights and electronics when not in use.
  • Be mindful of water usage, such as taking shorter showers and fixing any leaks promptly.
  • Compare internet service providers to find a package that meets your needs at a reasonable price.
  • Consider bundling services like internet, TV, and phone to potentially save on overall costs.
  • Regularly review utility bills and report any discrepancies or unusual usage patterns.

Entertainment and Leisure Expenses in Hong Kong

Entertainment and leisure expenses in Hong Kong can vary depending on personal preferences and the type of activities or attractions you choose to engage in. Here’s some information about entertainment and leisure expenses in Hong Kong:

Movie Theaters

Going to the movies is a popular form of entertainment in Hong Kong. Ticket prices for standard screenings typically range from HKD 70 to HKD 120 per person, depending on the cinema, location, and whether it’s a regular or special screening (IMAX, 3D, etc.). Some cinemas offer discounted tickets on certain days or for specific showtimes, so it’s worth checking for promotions.

Amusement Parks

Hong Kong is home to popular amusement parks like Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park. Entrance fees for these parks vary depending on factors such as age, package options, and peak or non-peak periods.

Ticket prices for Hong Kong Disneyland ranged from approximately HKD 499 to HKD 719 for adults and HKD 369 to HKD 539 for children, depending on the selected package. Ocean Park ticket prices were around HKD 438 for adults and HKD 219 for children.

Museums and Cultural Sites

Hong Kong has several museums and cultural sites that offer educational and enriching experiences. Many museums have free admission or offer discounted rates for certain groups, such as students or senior citizens. For example, the Hong Kong Museum of Art offers free admission on Wednesdays and some public holidays, while the Hong Kong Science Museum offers discounted admission for seniors and children.

Nightlife and Bars

Hong Kong has a vibrant nightlife scene, with numerous bars, clubs, and entertainment venues. Prices for drinks and entry fees can vary depending on the establishment, location, and day of the week. Upscale bars and clubs in popular areas like Lan Kwai Fong and Tsim Sha Tsui may have higher prices, while local bars and pubs can offer more affordable options.

Corporate Taxation in Hong Kong

Other Living Expenses in Hong Kong

Other living expenses in Hong Kong include healthcare, education, and personal care items. Here’s an overview of these expenses and some tips for budgeting and managing them:

Healthcare Expenses

Hong Kong has a well-developed healthcare system, offering both public and private healthcare services.

  • Public healthcare: The Hospital Authority operates public hospitals and clinics where residents can receive subsidized medical care. Fees for public healthcare services are relatively affordable.
  • Private healthcare: Private hospitals and clinics provide a higher level of service but tend to be more expensive. The cost of private medical consultations and treatments can vary significantly depending on the provider and the specific services required.
  • Health Insurance: It is highly recommended to have health insurance in Hong Kong to help cover the costs of medical treatments and emergencies. Health insurance premiums can vary depending on factors such as age, coverage level, and pre-existing conditions.

Education Expenses

Hong Kong offers a range of educational options, including public, private, and international schools. Expatriate families often opt for international schools, which provide education in various languages and follow different curricula (e.g., IB, British, American). Tuition fees for international schools in Hong Kong can be quite high, ranging from HKD 100,000 to HKD 400,000 per year, depending on the school and grade level.  In addition to tuition fees, families may need to budget for expenses such as uniforms, textbooks, extracurricular activities, transportation, and school supplies.


In conclusion, Hong Kong offers a vibrant and dynamic environment for foreign companies looking to expand their operations. While the cost of living in Hong Kong is known to be high, it is also a city that presents tremendous opportunities for business growth and success. By understanding the various costs associated with living in Hong Kong, including accommodation, food, transportation, entertainment, healthcare, education, and personal care items, foreign companies can effectively budget and plan for their operations in the city.

To further support foreign companies in their ventures, one valuable resource to consider is TopFDI. TopFDI is a leading consultancy specializing in facilitating foreign direct investment (FDI) in Hong Kong. They offer a range of services tailored to the specific needs of foreign businesses, including market entry strategies, company incorporation, regulatory compliance, talent acquisition, and more. With their in-depth knowledge of the local business landscape and extensive network of professionals, TopFDI can provide foreign companies with invaluable support and guidance throughout the entire process of establishing and growing a business in Hong Kong.

By partnering with TopFDI, foreign companies can benefit from their expertise, market insights, and efficient solutions, ultimately streamlining their entry into the Hong Kong market and maximizing their chances of success. With Hong Kong’s strategic location, robust legal framework, favorable tax system, and global connectivity, it remains an attractive destination for foreign businesses seeking to tap into the vast opportunities in Asia and beyond.

Embark on your journey with TopFDI today and unlock the potential that Hong Kong holds for your business!