Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City
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Finding accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City is a priority for expats moving to Vietnam. There are a variety of options, 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 HCMC. 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 a few weeks while they look for a suitable home.
Types of property in Ho Chi Minh City
Expats moving to HCMC will find a variety of accommodation options in this rapidly growing metropolis. From beautiful French colonial multi-storeyed 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 HCMC are often found just off the main streets. Many of these properties are only accessible by foot, bicycle or motorbike, and not by car. The bottom floor is usually used as a storage space for motorbikes and bicycles, the next floor up will usually consist of a kitchen and dining room, and the top level will be where the bedrooms are located. Most houses in HCMC will have a small deck on the roof.
Apartment complexes and condominiums are becoming more and more common in HCMC. 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.
Many of the younger expats who come to HCMC to volunteer or teach English opt to stay at backpacker hostels that offer them monthly accommodation rates and are located closer to the city centre.
Finding accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City
Finding accommodation in HCMC is relatively painless and generally doesn't require too much admin work. While there are several ways to find suitable properties in HCMC, using a real estate agent is by far the quickest. Several rental agencies operating in the city focus solely on the expatriate 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 an 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 many property owners in HCMC do not speak English, an estate agent plays a crucial role in negotiating the lease with a landlord on behalf of the tenant.
Renting property in Ho Chi Minh City
Most leases in Vietnam are for a set period and expats are required to pay a deposit equal to one or two months’ rent. Rental properties in HCMC usually include a fridge and stove, but it's possible to negotiate with the landlord or estate agent for a fully furnished property.
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 aimed at expatriates.
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.