What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Apartment living. Some diplomatic apartments are quite small, but ours is large by Hong Kong standards. Consulate housing is spread throughout the city (in four or five neighborhoods). Commute times range from a five minute walk to a 45 minute bus ride with transfers. - Jun 2020
Varied housing options throughout the city. All housing is currently on Hong Kong Island with major pockets in Central, Wan Chai, Shouson Hill, and I believe a few others.
As you might expect in Hong Kong, the housing varies in size. Some of the newer leased properties are very nice, but very small. There are some older leased properties that are much larger, and also still in districts with tons to do. Government-owned quarters in a few different locations as well, and these all tend to be on the larger side with properties offering probably the best views in the Foreign Service.
Since we are all on Hong Kong Island no commute is terrible. I live on the south side, and while relatively far from the consulate I generally can make it to work in 10-20 minutes. From the locations in Central and Wan Chai expect about a 10-15 minute walk. Most of the housing with large numbers of consulate staff are serviced by a shuttle. Your mileage may vary, but don't get hung up on location. Nothing is too far from work, and while some locations might not be walking distance to bars/restaurants/attractions Hong Kong is not a hard city to navigate. - Jul 2018
All housing is currently in high rises. There are some government owned low rising on the south side that are currently being renovated and will be getting filled again next summer. That housing is very spacious and near HKIS. The rest of the housing is either near HKIS with a 30-60 min commute or in the canter of town near the consulate with a 5-25 minute commute.The housing in the city is not as spacious as what is near the school and the storage space can range from modest to nonexistent so if you come here, pack light! - Apr 2016
Short commutes (15-20 minutes); U.S. government-leased housing is much larger than average. - Feb 2015
The U.S. government has housing in a handful of high-rise apartment buildings either near the Consulate or on the South Side of the island closer to HKIS. Most of the buildings have amenities of some sort (pool, playroom, tennis courts, outdoor space, etc). We live in a building in which several of the apartments are USG owned. The apartments in our building are very dated: outdated air-conditioning units which let in street noise and polluted air, very outdated and unsafe single-pane windows that lack any soundproofing, no dishwasher, very few outlets (which are overtaken by the air-purifiers and dehumidifiers that must be kept running at all times), and no dishwasher. Our building is also the only building with no amenities which makes it difficult for those of us with small children (particularly on days when it is not safe to take children outdoors because of air quality). The apartments are large by Hong Kong standards. A building is being constructed directly across the street from us. Consulate staff acknowledge that the windows and air-conditioning units in our building are deficient, yet nothing will be done in the near future to correct the problem. The residents of our building are bombarded with constant jackhammering and construction noises six days a week, 12 hours a day. This has been going on for over a year. The windows do nothing to keep the noise out. It is disruptive to the sleep of our children and has made it impossible for me to work (from home). It is excruciating. They are still working on the foundation of the building so construction noise will continue to be a problem in the foreseeable future. A home should be a place a respite from the chaos and noise of the city. My youngest can't even take a nap without being jarred awake from the jackhammering. I cannot emphasize enough the demoralizing effect of the constant construction noise on our community. I wish we knew of this problem when completing our housing questionnaire. - Feb 2015
There are a lot of housing options. The consulate has many people in several buildings all over HK. SoHo, the Mid-Levels, Shouson Hill, Repulse Bay, Tai Tam, the list is long. Most singles prefer to live in Central near all the bars, restaurants, etc. A lot of families love the convenience of being in the center as well. We did not want to be grouped in with all the other Americans and chose to live 30 minutes out. We have an unbelievable flat near Stanley market facing the South China Sea with full amenities. - Mar 2012
For the US Consulate there are 3 main housing facilities. One is just up the road from the Consulate, and has large, 3.5 bedroom apartments with slightly outdated fixtures and for some reason extremely slow internet. Another is leased units in a large building about a mile from the consulate. They run their own shuttle that drops off right near the consulate at exactly normal working hours. They have 2 and 3 (and maybe 4?) bedroom apartments, all very nice and very spacious by HK standards. The kitchens are a bit small and the appliances are HK-sized, not American sized. Also, no central heating or dehumidifying, you have to use consulate issued space heaters and dehumidifiers. But very conveniently located to everything you might want to do in the city and to public transport. The third main housing is a whole complex owned by the consulate out on the south side of HK island. It has units ranging from 2 bedroom to 4 bedroom. Most are very large, though some are a bit smaller than the Consulate's leased apartments, but all are still large for HK standards. They have balconies and a nice view of the ocean, and also have central AC/heating/dehumidifier and American appliances. However, this facility has had MAJOR maintenance issues since the remodel was completed about 2 years ago; the contractor apparently did a horrible job and now the whole building is falling apart (literally! tiles are falling off the side of the buildings!).Also, it is not very conveniently located for anyone except people with kids at the international school. You pretty much have to have a car out there, as the only thing in walking distance is one poorly-stocked grocery store, and there is essentially no public transport nearby. The consulate runs a shuttle from this complex once in the AM and once in the PM, slightly outside of normal working hours due to the traffic. It takes 15-20 min to get in normally, or 30min-1hr in rush hour. - Mar 2012
Most people live in high-rise apartments. It can take some getting used to if you've had a backyard at home. There are usually outdoors facilities (pool, outdoor courtyard, kids playground) in the expat buildings. The living space tends to be smaller than in, say USA or Australia. The public transport is very convenient for most parts of Hong Kong. All expats I know live on the HK Island, which means that the transport options are good - even so, people tend to take taxis everywhere as they are convenient and relatively cheap. - Aug 2010
Housing is mostly in apartments, either in downtown area (Wan Chai) or on south side of the island. The Consulate owns a big complex on the south side in Shouson Hill that they just did a major renovation on. It's now beautiful, although perhaps a bit isolated. Most new arrivals will be sent there this summer, which means that next summer most will probably wind up in Bamboo Grove, a nice high rise tower in Wan Chai. Not the biggest apartments you'll ever live in, but they're nice, and for Hong Kong, they're really nice. - Jun 2010
Most expat housing is in really nice, large apartment buildings on Hong Kong island (as opposed to in Kowloon). I lived in Shouson Hill near Repulse Bay, which I loved because I could walk to the beach, but others didn't like it. - Jun 2008