Expats looking for accommodation in Riyadh can choose from numerous Western-style compounds. However, availability can be limited despite the variety. It’s therefore often best to have the help of a sponsoring employer during the house-hunting process.
Types of property in Riyadh
There is not a great deal of choice when it comes to accommodation options in Riyadh. Expats are generally restricted to living in expat compounds. Apart from availability, individual needs and personal preferences dictate which compounds expats are interested in.
These self-contained complexes vary in size from small apartment clusters to sprawling collections of villas. They’re usually walled, guarded and include amenities like gyms, clinics, restaurants, shops and schools.
The restrictive rules of normal Saudi life can feel far away within these secluded neighbourhoods. The Mutaween seldom enters and expats have more opportunities to foster relationships with fellow expats that ease the transition. Women can also socialise freely inside compounds, and don’t have to wear the abaya.
Renting property in Riyadh
Demand for compound housing is high among Riyadh's expat population and rental prices are expensive.
Rent is usually expected to be paid six months to a year in advance. A deposit of 10 percent of the annual rent is also standard. Service charges and maintenance are usually included, but tenants are responsible for paying utilities like electricity, gas and water.
For many expats working in Riyadh, employers will supply accommodation in a Western compound or at least be in a position to be able to assist in the process of finding a home. It’s important that expats discuss getting a housing allowance during contract negotiations. This could be a specific sum of money, a percentage of their salary, or, as with some larger companies, even the provision of a property.
Popular expat compounds in Riyadh
Al Hamra Oasis Village
A premier compound fully furnished to satisfy all tastes and budgets. It caters to individuals and families with everything from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom villas. Residents can pay extra for internet, housekeeping and limousine services.
Arabian Homes is one of the most established expat compounds in Riyadh and offers a range of housing options and full amenities. A favourite with larger companies, this compound makes family life a priority but also provides unrivalled entertainment for adults.
Arizona Golf Resort
Known for reflecting the highest level of residential standards in Saudi Arabia, this high-walled compound caters to senior expatriate executives and their families. On-site amenities include a supermarket, hairdresser, library, preschool and health club.
Eid Villas Compound
Designed for quality, practical living in the heart of Saudi Arabia, Eid Villas Compound is conveniently located for the expat businesspeople and their families. Fantastic sports and recreational facilities are accompanied by a preschool, fully equipped business centre and a kid’s play park.
A Western-style compound with a focus on lifestyle, Kingdom City combines quality housing with the beauty of Saudi architecture. The compound is equipped with a bowling alley, shopping centre, healthcare clinic and swimming pools.
►For more on finding the perfect home, see Accommodation in Saudi Arabia
Are you an expat living in Riyadh?
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