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Old 06-09-2012, 10:17 AM
Location: Hong Kong
4 posts, read 4,752 times
Reputation: 11


Hello everyone,

First, I would like to thank you for this great forum. I am thinking about moving to London and I have found here tons of useful information.

I am an expat living currently in Hong Kong. My salary is not that high (3000/month) but it is enough to have a quite good situation here. I live 15mn walk from my office in Causeway Bay Hong Kong Island (550 sq/f semi-furnished apt rent+elec+water+internet = 1045).

Income taxes = 17% but my company offers a shield that reduces my rent from my taxable income. So in the end I won't pay more than 14%.
Company provides free health insurance and doubles retirement plan savings.

I spend around 250/month for food eating at restaurant every day! And 300 for hangouts.
I pay less than 70/month in transportations (even with taking taxi when I am late or to come back late after going out)
Mobile with unlimited 3G 50/month

So in the end, I can still save money, go out quite a lot etc...

Problem is... My company decided to transfer our HQ to London and they are asking me to move there. This means a better position and a slightly better salary (I have to negotiate it). But when I check this thread: http://www.city-data.com/forum/13988776-post6.html I feel like I would have to ask for a big salary boost...

The office is near Chelsea Manor Street. So, I already know that I won't be eating in restaurant that often anymore and I may have to live a bit far from the office but what salary would suffice to keep a life close to the one I have here in HK and save a bit money?

Thanks !
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:43 AM
Location: Hong Kong
4 posts, read 4,752 times
Reputation: 11
One more question ^^
Where should I live if I want to get to Chelsea (West London) within 30mn transportation (pipe or bus) and not pay more than 1000/month for a 1 bedroom + living room apt in a safe and clean neighborhood?

I read that Acton is a nice place to live in. Is it?

Thanks again
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:03 AM
Location: Hong Kong
4 posts, read 4,752 times
Reputation: 11
No one?
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:20 AM
Location: Paris, France
328 posts, read 765,890 times
Reputation: 519

It was quite a few years since I've been to Hong Kong, but my impression is that both cities are roughly on a par with cost of living.

Is your salary net or gross? With a salary of 3,000 a month NET you can live VERY well in London. Nice big flat in good, central area. Money for restaurants, going out, taxis if you can't be bothered with the tube and bus. You'll have enough left over for weekends on the continent: Spain, France and Italy are all just a couple of hours away!

3,000 a month gross will be a little less as taxes here are much higher than Hong Kong. You'll end up with about 2,000 in the bank every month, which will still afford a decent standard of living.

You'll have to give up eating in a restaurant every day, it's not the culture here. It's not like HK with thousands of cheap hawker stalls etc, eating out in London is for a treat - even the richest, trendiest people do it max twice or three times a week. Most only a couple of times a month, as it's VERY difficult to eat out for less than 20 a head. Lunchtime you'll most likely be getting a takeway sandwich and soup (still 6-7) from Pret-a-Manger or similar. So get a cookbook and learn to cook! The markets are great and fresh produce is delicious and inexpensive. Having friends round for dinner and drinks is a big part of London socialising, partly because of the high cost of living.

From what I've heard accomodation is VERY expensive in HK so you might be one of the few nationalities to find London rents cheap! You'll probably have a bit more space than HK, one bedroom rather than a studio/bedsit is the norm for young single professionals.

If you're going to be working in Chelsea you'll probably want to live in south west London for an easy commute. Clapham and Earlsfield, Vauxhall and Kennington are all fairly affordable and lively areas with lots of bars, restaurants and young people. Chelsea itself is also a residential area but it is a ghetto for the super rich - bankers and Russian oligarchs, you won't find anything in your price range there. Pimlico might be worth considering but it's a bit quiet and boring, though very near work for you.

You mention Acton - I don't know it well, it's a fairly working class area I believe with not that much going on. Big Polish community. You'd probably get a pretty decent place with your budget there.

Good luck !

Good luck anyway!
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:28 AM
Location: Leeds, UK
22,029 posts, read 20,155,949 times
Reputation: 8386
Remember the average wage in the UK is a lot higher than in Hong Kong.
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:07 AM
Location: Hong Kong
4 posts, read 4,752 times
Reputation: 11
Thanks a lot for your answers. I am sorry I didn't see them until now.

3000 is my gross salary here but my employer should increase it to get the same after taxes salary + adjustment in London. So I should get something close to 3000 Net salary. (but my girl friend will be staying with me and we would be living on one salary the few first months)

In another topic, I have checked apartments around Chelsea and could not find anything decent under 1200 + Tax.
I will search around Clapham and Earlsfield, Vauxhall and Kennington. Hopefully I will find something nice and affordable.

Thank you again for your help. I will be updating the thread as soon as I have more information from my employer.


PS: I am paying 1075 all fees included (1bed room, walkup building, 550sq feet + dressing room) for an apt in Causeway Bay (Central Hong Kong) in a very good location. I find London prices slightly higher than HK ones but apts look a lot nicer.

Last edited by K_HK; 06-27-2012 at 07:20 AM..
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