Amman - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

In my opinion, housing is poor if you are with the U.S. Embassy. All of our friends who are with other diplomatic missions, NGOs, and international schools, have much better housing and they pay much less. Maybe it's because they have to find their own housing but it is shocking how different their buildings and apartments are. We have issues with vandalism, electrical issues, water issues, and just walls crumbling. It's the worst I have seen in 16 years. - Aug 2023

In my opinion, this post has extreme housing disparities. Many families, especially those with kids, had massive apartments or duplexes with spacious yards. Others had smaller apartments but had newer, nicer layouts and designs. We ended up with neither: we got an old apartment with no yard and endless issues (almost no hot water for years, non-potable water for over a month, mold, aggressive leaks into electrical outlets). Our building was in a terrible location, complete with daily street harassment from the mobs of teenage boys loitering outside the building, cigarettes burning our patio furniture and smoke entering our apartment from the neighbors. A band moved in above us and started having practice until the wee hours of the morning, and soundproofing is nonexistent. We had roaches, mosquitoes, and ants. We had to park on the street as our spot was unusable (all residences are supposed to have parking). Abdoun tends to have nicer, newer units within easy walking distance of the Embassy and close to shops and restaurants. Deir Ghbar had many spacious properties with a very fast commute via car but not of neighborhood restaurants. Swefieh (where we lived) is surrounded by streets you can’t actually turn on, so the work commute is much longer and more frustrating than it needs to be. It is much louder in Swefieh. Commutes are pretty short (0-10 minutes in the morning but can be up to 30-45 minutes to go 1 mile in the evening if you’re trying to turn onto the streets of Swefieh). - Aug 2023

It seems to me that rank and family size seem to have no bearing on what you are assigned housing-wise. The housing board, in my opinion, appears to be unfairly balanced in favor of one agency. - Jul 2023

Housing is all apartments, some are very large; some have small gardens, some have balconies. Many are older (with a bit of charm?) and a few a more modern. They are spread out, some located in a bit more remote places, some located right near restaurants / cafes / small stores, but all are within a 15 minute commute. There are some roads, especially at rush hour, that are very congested, but in general compared to many other capital cities, the traffic here is not bad at all. On certain streets on weekend evenings cars go "cruising" and it can get very congested and very loud. - Mar 2023

Housing is very nice. Everyone from the embassy is required to live in close proximity to the Embassy in 3-4 neighborhoods. We are all in apartments in varying sizes with pros and cons. You either get a ground floor with some outdoor space or upper floors with balconies. There are A LOT of street cats, so, personally, I was glad to get an upper apartment so I didn't have to deal with the cats and them spraying, and leaving feces. People with younger kids and pets really prefer the ground level apartments. This the closest we have ever lived to work and school. We have a ten-minute walk to the embassy and a ten-minute bus ride for the kids to school. - Jul 2022

I was in an embassy-leased apartment in the Abdoun section of Amman, which is the wealthy area of the city. The unit was more than enough space, and I liked it better than any unit I've rented in the US. It was a five-minute walk to the embassy. - Oct 2021

For Americans, housing is in West Amman and proximate to the embassy compound. Most families have apartments with a few single family homes in the pool. If you don't mind a little sweat from the heat and hills, you can walk to work. Some face rush hour traffic, but those in Deir Ghbar and Central/South Abdoun usually avoid that. Most apartments I've seen are in buildings with 4-10 units, with 3 or 4 bedrooms. Most housing here has two living rooms (I believe so men and women can socialize in their own space), with decent kitchens. I adore the rolling blackout shutters -- it's my favorite thing about living in the Middle East and will miss it when I leave. - Apr 2021

Housing is spacious, but there are variations in the quality. Our house was dated, but well built. Others are very modern with more problems. There are big issues with outdoor space being at a premium. There is virtually no outdoor space in the city, so this matters. On the other hand, people with ground floors had other issues: tom cats spraying their furniture, people throwing cigarette butts in, and the Boab killing plants. Boabs live in the building, and are paid through a combination of landlord and apartment dwellers. Good ones are rare, bad ones can make your life miserable. Not engaging one is not really an option, though some people try. - Feb 2021

If your family has more than 3 accompanying children/family members you will almost certainly be under housed. The housing pool simply has not been managed and expanded to cater for large families. You will probably be sharing bedrooms in an apartment, most without outdoor space. Please consider this before bidding as it has been very difficult for families during lockdowns. If you get assigned housing in Abdoun or Swefeih then you will be closest to the embassy and also services and stores. Increasingly the embassy is housing families in Deir Ghabor which while new, is further and has fewer options for services and stores. Walking and bike riding can be difficult depending on where you live because Amman is quite hilly, cold in Winter and very hot in Summer. It is also quite dusty/dirty and lacking in footpaths/sidewalks. - Jan 2021

The inside of housing is great. You're in a large city so US diplomats live in spacious apartments. As a family of four, we have a three bedroom, 2 living, 1 dining, and an eat in kitchen. We also have a dog and requested a ground floor but were given a very large and spacious wrap around balcony. We've set up a blow up pool on our balcony, the kids ride around in circles on their scooter.... however, we are probably the only house in the housing pool with this. Facilities here is amazing and extremely responsive so there isn't nothing about inside of your house to worry about. People request ground floor because you want a yard, but few people have nice yards. The outdoor everything with housing is all pretty terrible. Just think big city and lower expectations. Mourn the loss of outdoor space, your feet being on grass, running through fields, or just outdoors in general. Commute is excellent, only seven minutes to get to work. - Dec 2020

Housing is mostly apartments. We have minimal outdoor space and had to push hard to get enough bedrooms for each of our kids. We have 4 kids between 11-19. Commute is great: five minutes to embassy by car or walking is about 25 mins. The walk isn't for the faint-hearted. Sidewalks are for growing trees here, not people. - Sep 2020

Large housing that varies in terms of how nice it is. Most homes are apartment-style. We had black mold and roaches. Maximum commute time to the embassy is about 10 minutes; very close and walkable for many. - Sep 2018

Good housing. Four bedrooms, three bathrooms, eat-in kitchen, living room, dining room, den, sun porch, and bonus room. We live near the embassy, as all families do. Many shops and restaurants walkable. We have a small yard. Most people live in spacious apartments with gardens and/or patios. Commute time is minimal, maybe 5-10 minutes for most, within walking distance. - Sep 2018

Spacious duplex with small yard. This is one of the better houses in the pool although even the apartments tend to be large, well-maintained, and in good locations. RSO mandates that all housing be within 3 km of the embassy meaning easy commutes, even walkable for most. - Mar 2017

Housing is great. We have a large house with a lovely garden and car park. he commute to the U.S. Embassy is less than 5 minutes, and to the American School it is about 10 -15 minutes. - Jul 2016

The vast majority of housing is apartments. The apartments are large and pretty nice. You will feel like you are living in a white marble box. Most have two living spaces (traditionally one for men and one for women). You will need to request a ground floor if it is something you want. Lower your ground floor expectations. Regardless they are small and have limited grass. The housing isn't the best we've ever had but it isn't bad. Most places are super close to the Embassy and have neighborhood pharmacies and markets. - Mar 2016

Good housing all close to the Embassy--typical commute time is 10-15 minutes. - Mar 2016

Housing is apartments. Can range from small to 4/5 bedrooms. Nice with tile flooring. The housing here in Amman is typically really nice. We requested top floor so we live on the fourth floor. Families with young kids usually try to get a ground floor with a small yard. Both are nice. The floor is tile and post has large area rugs/carpet for living room etc. All homes come with "zombie blinds" on the window that when shut block out any light. Each apartment typically will have at least one balcony. - Nov 2015

Most embassy families live near the Embassy. Most are in large apartments with a few in duplexes. Ground-floor apartments have small yards. Housing is decent. - May 2015

Low-rise apartments. Most expats live in Abdoun, Swefieh, or Deir Gabar, where most embassies are also located. Commutes are pretty short - rarely more than a 15-minute drive. I'm within walking distance but it's not pleasant or safe to walk given traffic and the lack of functional sidewalks. - Mar 2015

All homes are within 5km/10-minute drive of the Embassy (which totally beats the 1 1/2 hours my husband used to drive in the DC area). Most residences are apartments, all will have various degrees of issues with dust, construction noise, water issues, neighbor noise, traffic. Please adjust your expectations accordingly. People seem to ignore the fact that they are moving to a water-poor (therefore not used to and not built for the sporadic but expected rain deluge) desert, Muslim country in the Middle East, and think they are special/important with regards to wishes for ground floor residences with lots of green space for their dogs, away from dust and construction and the Call to Prayer, and walking distance to work, shops, restaurants, school, etc. This sort of request is much like asking in all seriosness for a pet unicorn. Yes, I sit on the Housing Board. Homes have water delivered (city for normal use, GSO for emergency delivery), propane (FAC) and diesel (GSO) delivered, electronic security systems installed, full shutter protection on windows (for the zombie apocalypse). Many homes have radiators and/or sub-floor heating for winter, though a/c can double as heating units as well. - Jul 2014

The housing provided by the U.S. Embassy is largely apartments and all are in Abdun and Sweifiah. The apartments are pretty spacious and vary in size between 3-5 bedrooms. Some have gardens or patios while others are on higher floors and sometimes have roof-top terraces. Almost all have a living room/dining room and a separate family room. The commutes here are great -- the embassy leased housing is all within 5 minutes to the embassy. - Mar 2014

Most people live in apartments in small apartment buildings scattered throughout Abdoun and Dier Ghabar, about 10 minutes drive or less from the Embassy. People either walk, take a taxi, or drive to work. - Dec 2013

The housing is nice. Most embassy families/singles live in apartments which are pretty big and comfortable - all within 10 minutes of the Embassy (driving). - Aug 2013

Low rise apartments within 5km of work. They are all fairly nice. Some are very close to work, some aren't. Taxi availability is hit or miss, sometimes it takes 1 minute of waiting and other times it takes 10-40 minutes, especially during Ramadan. Some residences are set very far back in residential neighborhoods, and it will take 10-15 minutes of walking uphill just to get to a busy street to catch a taxi. - Jul 2013

Mainly low-rise apartments with a few houses. All places are within a 10-minute drive of the embassy, and many are in walking distance. - May 2013

I commute no more then 10 minutes to the US Embassy. Housing is mostly in large flats. Workmanship is poor, so things frequently break or don't work, but it's not too frustrating. Chances are you will run out of heat and hot water a few times a year and wait a few hours until someone can come fix the issue. Housing quality varies: some apartments are gorgeous, while others are just okay. I think it's the luck of the draw when you arrive. - Mar 2013

99% of Embassy housing consists of apartments. The apartments are large, but they are still apartments. We have 4 children, so this has been a particular challenge for us. Ground floor apartments aren't always easy to get, but push for one if you have children. We all have to live within a mile or so of the Embassy, so the commutes tend to be less than 10 mins. - Apr 2012

Most US Embassy personnel live in 3-4 bedroom apartments. Houses are few and far between. Housing is generally fine, there are some people who really luck out and get fantastic places and some people who have awful places - most are in between. Everyone lives within in (literally) a five minute drive of the Embassy. It's a bit silly. - Mar 2012

Embassy housing is all garden apartments in West Amman. Housing is not clustered, but Amman is not a very large city so everything is close. The longest commute is about 10 minutes. - Mar 2012

Large apartments within walking distance or under a 10 minute drive from the Embassy. - Oct 2011

Most embassy folks live in pretty nice and large apartments. Commute times are pretty short as the city is not large and everything is close by. - Aug 2011

It's a 5-minute commute to the embassy from almost any embassy house and in a nice location of Amman. Most of the government housing was apartment style, but very large apartments. Very few free-standing houses - Aug 2011

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