Vienna - Post Report Question and Answers
What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Typical housing varies a lot, as does commute. You can live further out in the suburbs or outside of the city and have a house. You can have an apartment in the city. Our apartment is on the bigger size, with three bedrooms and 154 sqm in size. Our kitchen is a bit larger than most Viennese kitchens, but the aspects are the same. By this I mean: tiny sink and small fridge. - Sep 2022
Vienna is laied out in concentric circles, with the Ringstrasse around the 1st district, and districts 2-9 surrounding that. Around those districts is the "Guertel" followed by districts 10-23. Within the Guertel, there are only apartments; ones occupied by diplomats tend to be large and spacious, though they don't have built-in closets or storage the way North American homes do. Depending on where you are, districts 2-9 are at most a 40 minute walk to the 1st district. I lived in a flat that was a 20 minute walk to work and was very happy with it. The only problem with housing in Vienna is that air conditioning is relatively rare, and the windows don't have screens. The outer districts tend to have some townhouses (or at least apartments with yards), with a longer commute (maybe 45 minutes by transit). - Sep 2021
We lived in the new lower compound apartments in the 19th district. We had a large apartment on the second floor. There was an American-size kitchen. There was a playground and common area in the compound. There are smaller apartments available in the first district and larger homes near the American school in the 19th district. - Feb 2019
Housing for US Tri-Missions (bilateral, UN, and OSCE) is varied, mostly located in the 1st and 19th districts, but also scatterered through the 9th and a few others. There are two large mixed USG/private apartment complexes in the 19th District that opened in 2016; they are super modern and spacious, with underground parking provided. The GSO has done an exceptional job over the last couple of years in modernizing the housing pool and weeding out problem properties. Commute times vary; if you live in the 9th and work at the Bilat, or in the 1st and work at the Consulate, you can easily walk to work every day. Many families with kids at the American International School choose to live in the 19th for the shorter school commute. For those who work at the UN or OSCE, they generally need to take public transportation - my impression is that living in the 1st District or the 9th (near the Schottentor U-Bahn stop) is the best balance for work commute and location. - Jul 2018
Housing varies considerably in style and price, depending on the district in which one resides. Even with our requirements of a garage and personal green space (for our dog and to be able to barbecue), we were able to find housing that exceeds our requirements (in that we have both a personal garden and easy access to a large park with dog zone) in an enviable post code. From our house the commute is 20 minutes on public transportation to the center of Vienna. - Nov 2017
European-style apartments mean tall, narrow bathtubs with the faucet in the middle of the tub with a long-hose for your shower. Only modern apartments will have "normal stand-up showers." The Euro windows are cool. Can open two ways to open them. But remember if you're in town, you are surrounded by (beautiful) buildings which make the roads sounds like freeways.
1,000 square foot apartments feel small. They get hot starting in May. Then your A/C will likely leak. If it's an older building, expect peeling paint, leaky faucets, squeaky floors, and hallways of marble/tile from which you'll hear your neighbor go in-and-out all day/night as they walk their dogs. - Jun 2016
Mostly in the 1st, 9th, 18th, and 19th districts with a few people scattered elsewhere. There is a combination of owned/leased housing and it mostly seems to be apartments/townhomes. Several new complexes are under construction which will house both USG employees and the general public. Commutes can be a 1 minute walk if you live next to the Embassy or over an hour if you live in the 19th and have to commute to the US Mission to the UN Organization. There are pros/cons to all locations and nothing is perfecct. I've heard people complain about their housing but everything I've seen appears very nice. - Mar 2015
Families tend to get houses, although there are also apartments. Housing is usually very nice indeed. Not huge, but in lovely, park-like areas. If you have an apartment in the center, you may not have much space, but you will have access to all that the city has to offer. Typical commute from outer districts to the embassy or UN varies, but I'd guess 30 minutes on average. Trams come every 2 minutes. - Jul 2014
There's a wide variety of housing available - from downtown apartments to single family units at the edge of town. Commute times are minimal. - Mar 2014
Housing is spread out - smaller apartments in the 1st district and bigger units in the 9th, 18th, and 19th districts. Note that some housing is on the smaller side so if you're bringing a lot of things, make sure to inquire about storage space. Commute time varies but generally no more than 30 minutes to the Embassy depending on your proximity to public transport. - Aug 2013
Housing is spread all over the city, in part because there are three US missions here. It is mostly pretty good, although our first apartment had some serious problems. Fortunately, we were granted a move by the housing board. Viennese families are small, and housing is also on the small (but expensive) side. The embassy definitely seems to have some trouble accommodating large families. We love our downtown apartment because of the location, but it's a good thing we aren't packrats! If you have a chance to put some items in storage before coming here, do so. And expect a trip to Ikea, because there are few, if any closets (none in our current apartment). Housing out in the 19th district, near the American school, is larger, but not nearly as convenient.
Housing in Vienna is not designed with hot weather in mind. Many houses and apartments become uncomfortably (even miserably) hot during summer months. You will be told that the heat lasts "just a couple of weeks." Maybe in 1982 it did, but now these stretches are considerably longer. Be very cautious about accepting any housing assignment that does not include some form or air conditioning! - May 2013
Apartments in the 1st district all the way out to the 19th. Even in the suburbs (19th district) there are many apartments and just a few single-family dwellings. - Jan 2013
singles, couples, and young families mostly live downtown. Families with school aged children live in the outskirts of they city near the International School. Commute time can be 5-45 minutes, depending on which embassy you're working at. We liked our beautiful apartment in the old city (Sigmund Freud once had an office in our building) - Aug 2011
Varies widely depending on preference. City living is convenient and safe, still relatively quiet. Other districts may offer convenience to schools, but be wary of taverns (heurigers) up in the hill areas. They can be loud, and late. - Aug 2011
Townhouses for US diplomats. Many US diplomats live in compound areas known as "the American ghetto." - Aug 2009
Singles and couples without children generally live downtown; commute time 10-30 mins depending on the mission you are assigned to. Families live in the 18th or 19th district. There are apartments/townhouses available outside of the dreary compound. - Aug 2009
Small, old refurbished military quarters for most. I was in a TDY apt (1BR) but it was spacious and nice, with high ceilings, right downtown. I loved it. - Jul 2009
Housing is small and a lot of personnel live on the U.S. compunds which are old Army quarters. - May 2008
Generally apartments and generally pretty nice. I think Americans have a ton of space compared to everyone else. There are some single family homes, or villas that have been converted into apartments. The Embassy has two compounds which have their advantages -- AFN is provided, appliances are American-sized, there are playgrounds, but the aesthetics leave something to be desired. Singles and couples without children are generally housed in the first district, families in the 18th and 19th. The 18th is actually pretty close in to the Embassy and the city center. The 19th stretches all the way up to the Vienna Woods, so you can be pretty close to everything or quite far away. - Apr 2008
There's a mix of housing compounds, single homes, and downtown apartments at very convenient distance from work/downtown. - Jan 2008