- Download our Ho Chi Minh City Schools Guide
Finding accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City is a priority for expats moving to the city. There are a variety of options in Ho Chi Minh City, from short-term backpacker accommodation to luxury apartment complexes.
Some expats are lucky enough to have their employer source accommodation for them before they arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. However, most expats are left to find their own way around the city’s property market.
While expats can make contact with estate agents and peruse property listings from their home country, it is not advisable to commit to a rental contract in HCMC before seeing the property in person. For this reason, many expats choose to stay at a guesthouse for their first few weeks in the city while they look for a suitable home.
Types of accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City
Expats moving to Ho Chi Minh City will find a variety of accommodation options in this rapidly growing metropolis. From beautiful French colonial multi-storey houses along narrow alleyways to the modern condominiums and apartment complexes that are becoming more widely available as the city expands, there are many places for expats to choose from.
The quaint colonial houses which are a prominent feature in Ho Chi Minh City are often found just off the main streets. The bottom floor is usually used as an entryway or storage space for motorbikes and bicycles, the next floor up will usually consist of a kitchen and dining room, and the upper level will be where the bedrooms are located. Most houses in Ho Chi Minh City will have a small deck on the roof.
Apartment complexes and condominiums are becoming more common in the city. These complexes are modern and in line with what expats would expect in most Western countries. They often include facilities such as gyms, swimming pools and a laundry area. Many of these complexes also have security guards who are on duty 24 hours a day.
Finding accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City
Finding accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City is relatively painless and generally doesn't require too much admin. While there are several ways to find suitable properties, using a real-estate agent is by far the quickest. Several rental agencies operating in the city focus solely on the expat market, but for those who wish to go it alone, there are a number of helpful websites with property listings.
The major advantage of using a real-estate agent is that they have access to a larger pool of properties and are able to show expats a number of homes that meet their requirements and budget. Furthermore, as most property owners in Ho Chi Minh City do not speak English, a real-estate agent plays a crucial role in negotiating the lease with a landlord on behalf of the tenant.
Renting accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City
Rental properties in Ho Chi Minh City usually include a fridge and stove, but it's possible to negotiate with the landlord or real-estate agent for a fully furnished property. Much like Hanoi, certain areas and suburbs of Ho Chi Minh City are preferred by the city's expat population. Some of the most popular are District 7 (the New Economic Zone) and Phu My Hung, while Districts 1 and 2 are closer to the famous Pham Ngu Lao backpacker and tourist centre.
Most leases in Vietnam are for a set period, usually 12 or 24 months. Government regulations and language barriers can present some difficulties when trying to agree on the terms of a lease, so it's wise to get the help of one’s employer, a Vietnamese-speaking colleague or friend, or to use one of the many rental agencies catering specifically for expats.
Expats are typically required to pay a deposit equal to one or two months’ rent in Ho Chi Minh City. Expats should receive the deposit back if there is no damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear.
Tenants who are not moving to serviced apartments will need to budget for the monthly costs of utilities, including water, electricity and WiFi, as these are generally not included in the monthly rental price.
► Find out about Working in Vietnam
"From a room in a local house to a brand-new condominium, there is a large choice of housing for foreigners who wish to relocate to Vietnam. Expats coming with families often rent villas in expat-friendly districts that have all the amenities nearby, such as fitness centres, malls, restaurants and international schools."
Read our interview with French expat Guillaume to learn more about moving to HCMC.
Are you an expat living in Ho Chi Minh City?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Ho Chi Minh City. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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