In my specific situation I was moving to a new country for the first time, I wanted to know what the living situation would be like, how much rents was, what kind of housing existed in Macau and how would I get from my apartment to work, although I’ll talk about transportation in a different post.
Getting information on housing can be especially difficult if you don’t have any existing contacts in Macau, this can make it hard to estimate cost of living. Moving from Las Vegas to Macau I can tell you that the cost of living is substantially higher, I pay more for an apartment than I would back home also the processes is not very “user-friendly” as it is back in the states, but I’ll discuss that in more detail further down…
Ok so how to get at least a glimps of the market?
When I moved to Macau I was paying close to $1,900 a month for a two bedroom one bathroom apartment. It’s hard to tell if this was a mistake at the time, I had to quickly find a place to live and this seemed the most convenient as it was in the center of taipa.
Prices have dropped throughout the city since I moved here, a year and a half ago I moved to Coloane and picked up a slightly bigger department with an extra bedroom for $1,250 a month. I live further out of the centre of town but the recent opening of a grocery store and a couple of restaurants have made it inconsequential.
Below is a link to a Facebook group that often posts prices for apartments throughout the city. if your curious about pricing you can check there.
So the actual process…. well bring cash…. aaaaaand lots of it.
I had never actually rented an apartment before, I was lucky enough to have bought my first house very young, growing up in apartments with my parents it was simply an experience I wanted to avoid. This was not possible in Macau.
In the states the processes of obtaining an apartment is simple… find a location you like, head into the management office and possibly pay a deposit and the first months rent. Again I’ve never actually done it so forgive me if there is more involved… I am assuming there is a credit check along the way also, but I digress…
Not so Fast! I have to say I am not a fan of the way this processes is handled in Macau but this is the system they have so unless you find an owner on facebook or by some other means that is willing to rent to you then you’re best to stick with the processes that exists. I wont go into the pitfalls of finding an owner through other means because I never did it that way.
Fist off… You’ll need an agent, in my case my company assigned an agent to me, I believe the reason for this is that unlike in the US where an apartment building is owned by a company, the apartments here are owned by individual people thus making the processes much more difficult.
Secondly keep this in mind! you will need FOUR months worth of rent on hand… I will say that one more time FOUR MONTHS of rent. This is broken down the following way. You pay your first month of rent up front, then pay a two month deposit and then pay a fee to the agent equivalent to one months rent… So if my first apartment was renting for $1,900 that meant that I needed $7,600 up front just to get into my first apartment. Yes I got my two months deposit when I moved (which probably deserves it own post) but WOW that’s a lot of money to hand over at one time.
The agents do come in handy though, they helped me set up my utilities and work out certain things with the apartment owner. I was lucky to move into new apartments both times and both times the apartments didn’t have light fixtures or curtains… I didn’t realise that this is how most units came so my agent was able to get these things included by the owner. You’ll want them to handle this along with the installation. Unless of course you have some local connections and speak Cantonese.
I’ll write a short posts on utilities but I will say that I have found them to be relatively cheap compared to back home in Las Vegas.
Lastly you can get an appartment furnished or unfurnished, there isn’t much of a price difference maybe 50-100 dollars a month at the most. The pros and cons of this? Well if you get an apartment thats furnished then you dont have the expense of buying and owning furniture… on the other hand if your guest room has pink flowers on the bed frame or you have a very traditional chinese bed well then you are stuck with that… I chose to purchase my own furniture becuase the apartment I like came unfurnished. Finding furniture in Macau was a hassle, I gave up an purchased all of my furniture from Ikea in Hong Kong. They shipped and set it all up in my apartment in a short period of time.
The picture below is of my first apartment in Macau, I’ll link you to their page in case you are looking for more information.
There is probably much more i could write on this subject but I’ll make sure its included in another post.
Updated on 2/25/18
I was kindly reminded by a friend to include a bit of information about the rent leases. I have had two in my time here in Macau. Typically you will sign a lease for 2 years, this may seem long however you are typically only committed to staying for the duration of the first year, if you complete your first year and decide that half way through the second you would like to move or that your circumstances have changed you simply need to give “appropriate notice” this length of notice time will be found on the lease. Feel free to email me with any questions on this topic I will do my best to help you out.