Cost of Living in Macau
According to Xpatulator.com, the cost of living in Macau is very expensive compared to nearby Asian countries, such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia. In the Human Development Index, Macau ranked 25th with an HDI of 0.868 which is considered to be very high.
The real estate market of Macau is one of the fastest growing in Asia. The impressive growth is largely attributed to the strong influx of foreign nationals with intentions of investing in this Special Administrative Region, as well as Macau’s stable economy and high GDP per capita. In general, the government of Macau does not have any restrictions on foreign nationals who are interested in purchasing property in the region. It is recommended for expats to hire a knowledgeable lawyer in Macau to help with the process of buying real estate in the region.
"The cost of living is lower than Dubai, but it is higher than the Philippines where we originally came from. Dubai rents/real estate is very expensive and it’s 30% lower here in Macau. I believe basic commodities/local goods are cheaper as well but imported goods are significantly higher."- Apple Salangsang, Expat in Macau
The first step in purchasing real estate in Macau is to have a Promissory Contract made by a lawyer, which includes information about the buyer and the seller, as well as complete details about the property, agreed price, and special terms and conditions of the contract. At this point, the foreign national buyer should make a down payment of 10% of the purchase price. However, it is strictly recommended to perform a full search certificate at the Macau Land and Real Estate Registry Office or “Conservatoria do RegistoPredial de Macau” first before signing the Promissory Contract to be certain that the seller of the real estate has clear title to own and sell the property. To complete the purchase, all necessary documents should be signed, and fees must be paid. These include stamp duty of 3% of the real estate purchase price, notary, registration fees and property tax.
- Apartment in the city centre - US$5,201 to US$11,065 per square metre
- Apartment outside the city - US$4,000 to US$7,345 per square metre
The majority of the Macanese nationals and expat workers in Macau live in rental accommodations. These include real estate agencies that a certain property is listed with, which prospective tenants can directly contact to arrange a viewing. The average deposit for new tenants is three-four months’ worth of rental. Those who sign a rental agreement of one year will be charged with one month worth of rent to renew the contract. Several rental accommodations in Macau already come furnished with beds, couch, television, TV stand, dining tables and chairs, coffee table, wardrobe and washing machine. However, a lot of apartments do not have an oven, so tenants will have to buy it for themselves.
- One-bedroom apartment city centre - US$975 to US$1,150 pcm
- Three-bedroom apartment city centre - US$ to US$2,063.82 pcm
- One-bedroom apartment outside the city - US$737 to US$850 pcm
- Three-bedroom apartment outside the city - US$1,670 to US$1,804 pcm
Utility prices have risen slightly in recent years. Utility prices in Macau is as follows:
- Basic utilities (Water, heating, garbage and electricity) - US$55 to US$88 pcm
- Cable/DSL internet connection (unlimited data and speed of 6Mbps) - US$25 to US$36 pcm
- Local one-minute calls (prepaid mobile) - US$0.04
Food in Macau can be generally cheap depending on your choice of restaurant, and the groceries are also quite affordable. The prices for food are as follows:
- Inexpensive restaurant - US$6.20 per meal
- Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant - US$38
- Combo meals in McDonald’s - US$4
- One-litre milk - US$2
- one loaf of fresh white bread - US$2.20
- A dozen eggs - around US$2.26
- One kilogramme of local cheese - US$7.70
- One kilogramme of white rice costs - US$2.67
- One kilogramme of boneless chicken breasts - US$6
- 1.5 litre of bottled water - US$1.30
- One bottle of domestic beer- US$1.21
- One bottle of imported beer - US$1.40
- One bottle of mid-range wine - US$8.15
Transport costs are also generally cheap. Macau is a small country, so it's best to simply take public transport. The prices for transportation are as follows:
- One litre of gasoline - US$1.43
- One-way ticket for a local transport - US$0.40
- Regular monthly pass - US$18.77
- Taxi fares start - US$2.13 (Additional US$1.31 for every kilometre ride)
Macau is considered to be a tax haven due to tax rates which are very low compared to other countries in the world. All Macanese residents and non-residents, including foreign national workers, are liable to pay income tax in Macau. The income tax rate is on a sliding scale, starting from 0% up to 12%, depending on the income bracket of an employee. Property tax is paid by all residential, commercial and industrial property owners in Macau. Rates can be 6.3% if the tax value is the property rental value or 10.6% if the tax value is the actual income. Macau does not have capital gains tax, estate and gift taxes.
For full information on Macau's taxation, go to The Financial Services Bureau's official website.
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