Could I Live in Yuen Long?

Rents are skyrocketing in most of Hong Kong.  My current lease is coming up soon and I’m seeing that the asking price for places the same size as mine in Sai Kung is about 50% higher than what I’m currently paying.  Plus, well, I’ve been out of work more than 5 months and I can barely afford the rent I’m paying now.

So where are the relative bargains in Hong Kong?  The “outlying islands” like Lamma and Cheung Chau, cheaper because these islands are reachable only by boat.  I don’t really want to do a ferry commute daily and my girlfriend definitely doesn’t like the idea.

Sheung Shui and Fanling.  Almost as far north as you can get and still be in Hong Kong.  Not too horrible.

And then there’s Yuen Long.  The good things about Yuen Long include the fact that Open Rice lists more than 1,500 restaurants in the district.  There’s a ton of shopping there.  And it’s a major transportation hub, with express buses that reach Hong Kong island in 30-45 minutes.

Yesterday I went up and met two friends who live there.  We went for yum cha and they introduced me to one real estate agent.  This guy showed me several places, the last of which was 2 floors in a brand new, never-been-lived-in, village house going for about 40% less than I’m currently paying.  It was the sort of thing where you’d have to walk 5-10 minutes to get out to the main road and then wait for a mini-bus to take you to the town center, probably a 10 or a 15 minute ride.

I wasn’t certain how my gf would react to all of this so I brought her to Yuen Long today.  We walked around the town and her verdict was, “I’m not just okay with it, I love it.”

The other upside is that my mother hates the second bedroom in our current place and says she could never live here with us.  This particular house we saw, the second bedroom also had its own en suite bathroom and was significantly larger.

What’s the down side?  We know a lot of people in Sai Kung.  We know practically no one in Yuen Long.  In some ways moving there would seem to make a lot of sense.  But I’m reticent to pull the trigger on the move just yet.

Anyone out there have any thoughts on this?