Abu Dhabi - Post Report Question and Answers

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

We have pets, so a villa was our only option. We live about 25 minutes from the Embassy, depending traffic. There are mix of villas and apartments of varying sizes. We live in a mixed community with expats and locals, it is gated and has a club house (gym, pool...etc), restaurant, and mini-mart (Baqala). - Feb 2020

We are a family of three and live in a high-rise with new and modern apartments, pool, gym and all. We have four bedrooms. Size of the apartment is great: not too big and not too small. There is housing near the Corniche (mostly apartments and a few older villas), there is compound housing near the embassy and I think there are also high-rise apartments buildings in that area, and then there is housing further away. I honestly find it difficult to figure out where everybody lives because housing is so spread here. People seem to generally be happy with their housing. - Jun 2019

Relatively large houses considering you are in a city. Some are in compounds, some are in neighborhoods. There are also high-rise apartments for singles/couples and families. Closer to the downtown area the houses are older and some of the apartment buildings are older but they are building new high-rises all the time. As you move away from the city, housing is more updated. - Sep 2017

Embassy housing is great -- spacious and convenient. The embassy recently got rid of some houses that were quite far from the city and now all the residences are a very reasonable commute to work and most locations have either access to pools and other amenities, or the location and proximity to downtown locations can't be beat. - Jun 2015

For the U.S. Embassy, a mix of villas and apartments, mostly fairly central. Commutes probably average ten to twenty minutes. A few years ago the embassy acquired some units out in a new suburb. Those poor folks are half an hour away, not only from the Embassy, but from all services and shopping. It really stuck out in the desert. Most units have some kind of chronic maintenance issues, but that's pretty much the norm here. Construction standards are low, and new units are often no better than old ones. - May 2013

We were provided with new apartments on the island, about fifteen minutes from the city centre in a pleasant suburb with parks and villas for Emirati families. However, if accommodation is not provided by your employer, it is difficult and expensive to find housing. Many people were commuting in daily from Dubai where rents were lower after the financial crash. - Jul 2012

For the U.S. Embassy, a mix of mostly smallish villas and often surprisingly roomy flats. Villas are spread around the city, and flats are mostly near the Corniche. Few villas have more than a tiny patio outdoors; gardens are rare. Some buildings for flats have amenities (pool, gym, etc.); some have none. The same goes for villas, which are both in compounds and standalone (the standalone ones tend to be larger). - Aug 2011

Roads are good and commute times are not too bad depending on what part of the city you're living in. In any case, commutes here beat any USA metro area commute; housing is varied but good - huge villas or apartments. - Jul 2011

Housing is EXPENSIVE. Most Embassy staff without children live in apartments in the downtown area close to the Corniche. Some families with kids live in villas downtown as well but most live in villas close to the Embassy. The housing here (both apartments and villas) tends to be large, spacious and well equipped. People compete for the best housing on principle only because all housing is very comfortable. Newer housing appears great on the surface, but the workmanship is pretty shoddy and requires lots of maintenance until all the kinks are sorted out. From downtown to the Embassy is about a 20 minute drive. - Nov 2010

There are many high rises with apartments in the downtown core. There are villas too, however, more people are choosing to live in villas outside the downtown core due to cost, however the commute time is longer. - Jan 2010

Concrete homes, windows are kind of drafty. Downtown Abu Dhabi is crowded, and traffic can be dense. I live off-island and it is much more managable. Going downtown from home takes 20-30 minutes. - Aug 2009

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More