Finding the right accommodation for you



The right type of accommodation can be different depending on your living situation. But whether you are moving with your family, with just your partner, or if you will be living by yourself, you should know what kind of housing and accommodations are available to you in your new city of residence. Information is the key to finding the right type of housing for you. If you plan to look for houses yourself, staying informed will make finding the right place faster. If you plan to go to real estate agents, staying informed means that you will not be manipulated by agents, and you can make an informed decision that gives you the ideal housing for your lifestyle abroad. So what are the things you need to know to find the right accommodation in your new city of residence? Read on below and learn what you need to know to find the perfect place in your new city.

Types of Housing

For you to find the right housing in your new country of residence, first, you need to know the different types of housing available, and the prices for each type of housing. The type of housing can be different depending on which country and which city you live in, but it’s very important that you learn what is out there before you make your move.

  • East Asia

East Asian countries like China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea have several types of housing for expats. These countries are quite popular for English teachers and finance professionals, so most expats tend to live in high-rise condo units in the major cities in this region, namely Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong. The prices for high-rise condos in these places can be quite expensive, but there are neighbourhoods where you can find apartments that are more reasonably priced. While there are several western-style condos and apartments in these cities, some expats prefer living in traditional houses, sometimes on the outskirts of the city, this is usually ideal for expats with families. It’s best to research the types of neighbourhoods in your specific city to find out the best place for you to live in terms of housing and environment.

  • Southeast Asia

Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Thailand, The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia have more housing options for expats. Most of these countries have a low cost of living, so even the finest types of housing can come at a low price depending on which city you’re looking at. Singapore for example is the most expensive city in the world, and also one of the most famous expat cities in the world. Housing in this city can be quite expensive whether you live in a condo, a landed house, or a government subsidised apartment called HDBs, the closer your proximity is to the city centre, the more expensive the prices will be. Other cities in the SEA region, however, have more reasonably priced accommodations for expats. Cities like Kuala Lumpur, Metro Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bangkok have apartments, condos and even landed property that come at reasonable and even slightly cheap prices.

  • The Middle East and South Asia

Again, depending on which specific city you’re looking at, types of housing may differ, but in the Middle East, most expats prefer living in western style condos and apartments that usually cost more than regular apartments and traditional landed houses. In South Asia, mainly India, there are several housing options to choose from, but most expats who live in India also prefer to live in western style housing even if it costs more, mainly for convenience as these condos and apartments are usually located in the city centre, and also for security reasons. Expats are willing to pay more for these types of reasons.

In the wealthy cities of the Middle East, like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, several expats live a luxurious life in expensive high-rise modern condos, but if you prefer a more laid back and moderate type of housing, there are apartments around these cities that offer cheaper accommodations. Look into the neighbourhoods of each city, so that you can find the most appropriate type of housing for you in these types of cities.

It is also worth noting that there are specific cohabitation rules in most Middle Eastern countries. For example, an unmarried man and woman cannot live together in the same house. This goes for hotels as well, an unmarried man and woman cannot share the same hotel room. Guests are requested to provide a marriage certificate before booking a hotel room or any type of accommodation if they will be living together. Learn more about housing and other gender segregation rules in the link from this OECD report.

  • Europe

European cities usually have several housing options for expats; however, they may not always come cheap. Due to their rich culture and history, most European countries tend to have more traditional types of housing instead of modern buildings. Countries like the UK, Ireland, France, Greece, and Spain for example, work very hard to preserve traditional housing and neighbourhoods. As such, modern flats and condos are quite hard to find and even more expensive to rent or own. Expats who live in Europe however, do enjoy living in traditional houses or apartments. There are of course several neighbourhoods in each city that offer more modern accommodations. Countries like Switzerland, Germany, and The Netherlands have more modern options than other countries in Europe, but they also have the highest cost of living prices. It will all depend on what type of housing matches your lifestyle.

  • North and South America

North America, namely Canada and the United States are very modern countries and their major cities have several housing options and price range for expats. You would need to learn about the neighbourhoods of the city you choose to find the best type of housing for you. Cities like New York, however, can be very expensive, and most people struggle with rent in this city. Housing options may be very limited because of this, and most people tend to live outside Manhattan due to the high cost of living within the city centre. Other cities in the country offer more reasonably priced accommodations.

Canada is popular among expat families for the more laid back lifestyle and more professional opportunities. Major Canadian cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver tend to be pricier, but there are still several accommodations that come at a cheaper rate depending on the neighbourhood you choose.

South American countries have more traditional housing and a cheaper cost of living. There are Barrios in several countries that offer the cheapest accommodations, but safety can be a major issue. Most expats in this region prefer to buy property or live in western style apartments and houses.

  • Australia and New Zealand

The beautiful countries of Australia and New Zealand and famous in the expat communities as one of the best places for expats to live, due to the number of job and career opportunities but still having a laid back, more relaxed atmosphere in the region. Cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth in Australia have a growing expat community, and as such housing for expats in these cities have more range both in prices, sizes, and styles. Cities like Christchurch and Auckland are the most famous among expats. These cities have more traditional types of landed houses, but there are also several modern housing and accommodations available.

Knowing the neighbourhoods and types of housing in the city you will be moving into before you start house hunting gives you a great advantage. Doing your research and having the right information can save you a lot of time and money when it comes to housing abroad.  


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