Best Places to Live in Saudi Arabia for Expats

In a previous post,we shared a guide for first-time visitors in Saudi Arabia. Today, we are going to talk more about the places where expats typically live or stay in the Kingdom.

There are many great places where you can stay as an expat in Saudi Arabia. There are also different types of accommodations available, depending on the location of your work, your budget, and family size (if you have brought or are planning to bring your family with you).

places to live for expats

Where to Stay as an Expat in Saudi Arabia

In the following post, we’re going to talk about renting a property, the types of accommodation available, and the best places to live in the Kingdom.

A. Renting a Property

The first thing you’ll have to determine is whether or not your employer will provide or facilitate housing accommodation for you, as part of your job contract. Some employers would even make an advance rental payment, to be deducted form your salary later on.

If your job contract does not include accommodation, you can ask your company’s Human Resources (HR) department to connect you with a landlord or real estate agent. You may also ask a friend or colleague for recommendations. Another option would be to search online by vising Bayut, Property Finder, and other property listing websites in Saudi Arabia.

In any case, renting a place would involve signing a rental contract, which could last between two to six months for short-term contracts, and at least one year for long-term contracts. If the contract is written in Arabic, don’t be shy to ask for an English translation of the document.

In preparation for signing your rental contract, be sure to prepare these requirements:

  • Original and photocopy of your passport and visa;
  • Your residency card/permit or Iqama;
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable); and
  • Letter from your employer stating your job position and salary (if needed).

Once finalized, your rental agreement would be registered on Ejar, an online system that monitors rental agreements in Saudi Arabia. This portal collects information about the contract for the purpose of record-keeping, and for settling rental disputes in case they arise.

As for the rental prices in the Kingdom, this would depend on the location, type of accommodation, and facilities provided. Keep on reading to know more about them!

B. Types of Accommodation

Below are the most common types of accommodation available:

1. Expat Compounds

As the term suggests, these compounds are specifically built for accommodating expats in Saudi Arabia. These include houses and villas that are large and spacious, with some having its own garden or backyard. These are situated in communities, with nearby supermarkets, restaurants, shopping malls, fitness gyms, tennis courts, and swimming pools.

Houses in expat compounds may come fully furnished, complete with refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, kitchenware, Internet access, and so on. Meanwhile, some are only partially furnished, so you will have to buy your own appliances and things.

Rental prices within expat compounds are on the pricey side, starting at around SAR 90,000 annually for a three-bedroom house, up to SAR 200,000 for a bigger place, depending on the furnishings, facilities, and amenities included. This may be provided or facilitated by your employer, so be sure to check with them beforehand.

2. Villas

A villa is a luxury residence usually situated in gated communities. The size varies, from three-bedroom to four-bedroom (or more) villas, with some having their own garden and swimming pool. Meanwhile, the gated communities typically provide round-the-clock security, and it’s common to find nearby restaurants and shopping centres as well.

3. Apartments

Like in most other countries, there are many apartment buildings in Saudi Arabia, especially in or near cities. You can choose between one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units, which are usually housed in low-rise buildings that reach four to eight storeys high.

places to live for expats

C. Places to Live in the KSA

Here are some of the most popular places where expats usually live and work:

1. Dammam

Located in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, this is where most of the Kingdom’s oil companies operate, with expats living in Dammam as well as in the neighboring areas of Al Khobar and Dharan. Dammam also happens to be just within driving distance from Bahrain, so it’s pretty common for expats to take a quick weekend trip to this neighboring Kingdom!

In terms of rental prices, a three-bedroom and four-bedroom apartment in Dammam would cost around SAR 70,000 and SAR 120,000, respectively. Meanwhile, a three-bedroom villa costs around SAR 110,000, whereas a four-bedroom villa starts around SAR 150,000.

2. Jeddah

Jeddah is more popularly known as the “main gateway” to the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina. Located near the Red Sea, it features the country’s biggest port, and offers lots of leisure activities like sailing and scuba-diving. Jeddah also happens to be the second-largest city in the Kingdom, and is known as a centre for business, trade, manufacturing, science, technology, engineering, health care, arts, and culture.

As for rental prices, a typical two-bedroom apartment in Jeddah would cost around SAR 40,000 yearly, whereas a three-bedroom and four-bedroom unit costs around SAR 75,000 and SAR 120,000, respectively. A three-bedroom villa, on the other hand, starts at around SAR 120,000, while a four-bedroom villa could cost you up to SAR 170,000 a year.

3. Riyadh

And last but certainly not the least, we have Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia and most populated city in the Kingdom. It is a bustling metropolis with lots of commercial buildings, shopping malls, state-of-the-art medical facilities, and many other conveniences.

In terms of rental prices, a typical one-bedroom apartment in Riyadh costs around SAR 40,000 annually, while a two-bedroom and three-bedroom unit costs around SAR 60,000 and SAR 70,000, respectively. On the other hand, a three-bedroom villa in the capital starts at around SAR 100,000, whereas a four-bedroom villa costs around SAR 130,000 a year.

places to live for expats

DISCLAIMER: The above guide is presented for information-sharing purposes only. To know more about housing accommodations and rental prices in the Kingdom, please check out official property listings or get in touch with a real estate agent.

Now that you know a little bit more about available housing and average rental prices in Saudi Arabia, you can better prepare for living and working here in the future. In the meantime, check out these money-saving tips to follow while living as an expat in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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