Muscat - Post Report Question and Answers
What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
We had one of the oldest houses in the housing pool. It was an old house, but the facilities team was amazing and they fixed everything very quickly. They would go above and beyond to make sure the house was as good as it was going to get. After we left, they actually completely renovated the house, which was also great to hear. - Jan 2022
We live in a large townhouse with 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, plus a maid's quarters. We live in the Madinat al Sultan Qaboos neighborhood, and it's only about 8 minutes to the embassy. Generally commute times from all housing to the embassy are 15 minutes, maximum, even at "rush-hour." Most people are very happy with their housing and have far more house than they need. - Dec 2018
Housing is pretty good and everyone seems happy. The Middle East is known for "over housing" in terms of size because that is just how homes are built out here. They are either shoeboxes or palatial. The smallest house we have has 3 bedrooms. I find landlords to not be incredibly responsive and our FAC team picks up a lot of the stuff that isn't done properly and I have been very happy with the job they do. The most common issues are water-related like leaks (especially the split-pack AC units) and some minor electrical.
The US embassy has 2 compounds that only house Americans (one has 6 homes and the other has 8). These are best for families with young children.They are older and could use some updating but they are very generous in size.
Another main area is known as MQ. This is a mix of townhomes, apartments, and a few government owned villas. The advantage to living in MQ is you can walk to the American club and a large shopping complex with coffee shops, ice cream, several restaurants and the main grocery store many of us use (sort of akin to Whole Foods - expensive but good quality imports). They are building some sort of new shopping complex there as well but no clue when that will be done or what it will house. MQ is where most singletons live in the apartments (they are modern and new and very spacious).
There are a few other neighborhoods with various housing options - mostly for families with children. And most of those are compounds living amongst other expats.
All housing comes with a 5-15 minute commute to work. The American School is also only about a 15 commute. Traffic here is pretty non-existent and when there is some it's really not that bad. - Feb 2018
We were very lucky and for a family of two got this huge 3 bed, 5 bath house, with live-in maid's quarters. We have a covered parking space in our yard as well, not a garage per se. We have got a big yard with some grassy area and a covered patio. If you have a bigger family, you will most likely get a house. All houses are very huge and spacious out here. Usually 2-3 level houses with maid's quarters and some sort of a yard. Many couples get apartments as well. All of them are new construction, so they are very fresh and clean, and relatively big. Apartments do not have garages, just assigned parking spaces. The downside to all of the housing is that they are not quality construction, so issues are not uncommon, like mold, a pipe burst and flooded our bedroom recently and another house had an electrical fire. - Aug 2017
Houses tend to be large and multiple stories. Most housing is in three main areas all 5-10 minutes from the Embassy and 20 minutes from the American school. Some houses have strange layouts, but all are more than large enough. The apartments are some of the best housing in the pool, but are only large enough for singles and couples. A few of the housing areas and apartment buildings have pools and a small rec room. Yards are non-existent, but some areas have enclosed driveways for children to play. Maintenance on the housing varies depending on the landlord and storage areas/closets can be limited. - Oct 2014
There is about an even split between newer townhouses with small, paved yards and older single-family homes with larger yards. Also, some nice-sized apartments with good amenities. - Jun 2012
A 10-minute or less commute. No traffic issues to speak of. Housing for families is quite large. All have someplace for a live-in nanny to sleep -- in either a downstairs bedroom or a separate maid's quarters apart from the main residence. - May 2012
Big houses; some with yards if you get lucky. Singles usually get apartments. - Aug 2011
Housing is good. Some are old but have yards. - Feb 2011
There are several areas to choose from. We lived in Al Azaibah and loved it. It was relatively close to the school and easily accessible to a lot of things. I hear that they are building a lot more mall structures and even a new ice skating rink (to replace the old one) in the Madinat Sultan Qaboos area where there are also lots of expats. - Apr 2010
Large family homes and some apartments for single and couples. Our first year was a tough one, no apartments at all or none worth living in and you had single folks living in mansions. Landlords were not willing to fix problems. We knew of one family that had almost every ac unit in their house inoperable and the landlord still put up a fuss. Believe it took over 3 months to sort this out. - Feb 2010
All houses and town houses, in Shatti al-Qurum, Medinat Qaboos, and al-Khuwair. Commutes no more than 10 - 15 minutes, especially since they have re-done the traffic patterns to make them more efficient. - Jan 2010
Many homes have tall ceilings for the heat and at least three floors and roof access. Homes run larger since a great part of the year is quite hot for being outdoors all day. We moved a few months ago to an exception -- a smaller 1 1/2 story "ranch" style with a large meandering garden and brick patio. The home was built for cross ventilation and we are enjoying it and the gardens we have worked on immensely. - Mar 2009
Embassy housing is good to excellent - a mixture of townhouses and freestanding villas, most within ten minutes of the Embassy. As of early 2008, a few smaller apartments, mostly for military singles, are being added to the housing pool. Much of the housing is close to the sea. Few houses have large gardens, but most have at least a small outdoor space. All have some eccentricities - odd layouts, small kitchens, the usual overseas housing issues, but also some features (balconies, high ceilings, etc.) that make up for them. - Feb 2008