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Guide to Buying a Property in Hong Kong

Stamp Duty

  • If you are a first time buyer with a Permanent Hong Kong ID Residence Card, the Stamp Duty (AVD) will range from HK$100 for a property valued at HK$2m or less up to a maximum of 4.25%.
  • If you are buying your second residential property and have a Permanent Hong Kong ID Residence Card, Stamp Duty (AVD) will be at 15%.
  • If you are not a holder of a permanent Hong Kong ID Card, the Stamp Duty will be 15% plus an additional 15% Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD), thus a total of 30%.
  • Likewise, if you wish to buy a property using a company, both locally or overseas incorporated, the Stamp Duty will be 15% plus an additional 15% Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD), again thus a total of 30%.


Criteria, Saleable Area and Gross Area

Decide on your preferred area in Hong Kong, your main criteria, and approximate budget.

In Hong Kong, apartment sizes are now presented in terms of saleable area, which refers to the net internal or usable area of the property. You will often see gross area quoted as well, but this includes all common areas, facilities and other add-ons, so does not give you a fair indication of the actual apartment’s size. When in doubt always ask for and check the saleable area.


Budget and Affordability

When working out your budget, see how much you have for a down payment, and understand what you can afford on monthly mortgage. In Hong Kong the cash down payments can be anywhere from 30%-60%, with banks lending caps at typically 40%-50%. Developers and other lenders will sometimes lend additional sums to reduce the cash down-payment requirement, but buyers should be very careful to only take out a mortgage based on his/her own affordability.


In Hong Kong, once you find a property you like, the whole transaction time can take place within 6-10 weeks.   The transaction is broken down into 3 key steps:


Step 1: Initial Deposit & Preliminary Agreement for Sale and Purchase (PASP)

  • Buyer and Seller must execute a Preliminary Agreement for Sale and Purchase (known as the PASP).
  • The PASP is normally prepared by the agent.
  • At this stage an initial deposit of between 1%-5% is payable to the vendor or to the vendor’s solicitor.
  • Please note, at this stage the buyer needs to enter the correct name of the buyer or buyers on the PASP, as Hong Kong law does not allow changes to be made after this.


Step 2: Formal Agreement for Sales and Purchase

  • Within 14 days of Step 1, Buyer and Seller must execute the Formal Agreement for Sales & Purchase (known as the ASP)
  • The ASP is prepared by the vendor’s lawyers, and the buyers lawyer will review, comment, and once all is agreed, the buyer’s lawyer will arrange for the buyer(s) to sign the ASP and pay the balance of the deposit.
  • At this stage the balance of 10% deposit is payable (less the amount already paid in Step 1)
  • The Stamp Duty payable will also be lodged with you lawyer for them to ensure payment at this stage.


Step 3: Completion

  • The lawyers will prepare the completion documents and the Assignment.
  • The vendor and purchaser would have established a completion date already in Step 1.
  • A few days before the completion date, the buyer will go to his/her’s lawyers office and pay the balance for completion and sign the completion documents.  This will then be passed to vendor’s solicitor to complete the transaction and finalise the assignment


Other Fees:

  • Legal Fees: typically approx. 5,000-10,000 HKD
  • Agency Fees: For second-hand residential sales, 1% of the purchase price is typically payable by the buyer and 1% by the seller to the property agent.
  • For first-hand residential sales, the agent will normally receive commission from the developer and not look to the buyer for additional commission.
  • The buyer may also have to pay some charges in conjunction to management fees, government rates and government rent.



  • If a buyer plans to purchase with a mortgage, it is imperative the buyer understands what the bank will lend and the process, timing and paperwork required by of the bank to approve a mortgage.
  • All buyers should speak to their banks in advance of paying monies, to have a clear understanding as to how much a bank will lend based on income and the property value
  • If you do not need a mortgage, and plan to buy all cash, then this is not an issue.


In Hong Kong most properties are sold on a leasehold basis, so it is important you check with your agent or lawyer how long is remaining on the lease. Some leaseholds may be up to 75 years, other may be higher and even up to 999 years. Freehold is also available in certain areas of Hong Kong, largely in the New Territories.

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