Kingston - Post Report Question and Answers

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

U.S. embassy housing is either an apartment building with multiple amenities, or a house in a housing compound; most compounds have a swimming pool. Housing is fairly decent. - May 2022

Housing is awesome, spacious, with access to a pool is usual, small yard, or apartment with great amenities within the compound. Lots of bathrooms. Good security. Commute after 7am the traffic gets bad expect to sit in traffic for 30 mins or more. - May 2022

Staff are placed in either apartments or houses in gated communities. They are decent size and almost all housing has access to a pool. People are generally happy with housing. It is not fancy, but it works. - Jan 2020

Housing consists of a government-owned apartment complex (Powell Plaza) and townhouses/single family homes. Apartments in Powell Plaza have two -three bedrooms, and are very spacious and nice. The property has a decent-sized gym, game room, barbecue area, tennis court, racketball court, and a pool. Powell is good for singles and young families, especially for spouses who don't work, since they have easy access to the aforementioned facilities and can meet up with other spouses. Since Powell Plaza is a government owned complex, maintenance issues are generally resolved within a day or two. The only thing that some people complain about this place is security entrance procedures for non-residents. - Aug 2018

Many expats live in housing developments with townhouses, most of which have pools. If you are with the US Embassy, you may also live in an apartment complex they own; both complexes are nice. - Jun 2018

Housing is good. There is one US gov't owned apartment building, Powell Plaza. Apartments are 2-3 bedrooms, bright, open and spacious. Powell provides great amenities including a pool, gym, play room for kids, tennis courts, etc. People in Powell are generally happy with their housing.

The biggest con to Powell Plaza is the distance from the Embassy and traffic. It can take almost an hour in traffic to go about 4 miles. Other leased housing is in gated neighborhoods throughout the city. All are open and quite spacious. Very limited yard space at most of the houses and town homes. - Mar 2017

Beautiful large apartments, and some nice houses. Everyone is happy with housing. - Apr 2016

Housing for U.S. government folks is generally split between apartments and townhouses. The apartments are located in a building that used to be a hotel and was converted into an apartment building. Apartments there are 2-3 bedroom, 2.5 - 3 bathroom units with balconies, washer/dryer, dishwasher, etc. in the unit (no garbage disposals). Each unit is about 1,600 square feet and views vary but most include mountains or the Caribbean Sea, some lucky people have both. Townhouses are spread out around Kingston, many are located in compounds with other expats and locals, all have 24 hour security, most have communal swimming pools as well. Commute times vary from 10 - 40 minutes to the Embassy. Traffic is also a huge factor in commute times and traffic volumes increase during the school year as there is no formal public school bus system. - Dec 2014

U.S. Embassy folks live in the Powell Plaza compound or townhomes in gated communities. We live in a townhome and love it. All places have a communal pool. Our house is very spacious. And our neighbors are a mix of U.S. and other diplomats, expats and Jamaicans. All the kids run around and play outside after school together. - Oct 2014

Houses and townhouses for familes. Apartments for singles. - Mar 2014

Housing is nice -- townhouses, mostly, and apartments. All have pools. Commute times are 15-45 minutes, depending on whether it's raining or not. - Dec 2013

Single family houses and apartments are available in Kingston. Traffic is bad during morning/evening rush hour, but is otherwise fine. - Aug 2011

Singles tend to live in one main apartment area, but there are townhomes and houses. - Sep 2010

Housing for most embassy personnel is in a hotel that the embassy purchased and renovated, and the rooms are like large apartments: living room, kitchen, dining room, 2 bedrooms, etc. Some live out in town in townhouses. They are all very nice. The Marines live on compound. - Jul 2010

Most expats live in a compound with a fence around it. Most compounds have a pool and gym. I feel very safe in them, as the secerity is very good in these compounds. - May 2010

A large variety of housing exists. There are beautiful single-family homes with fruit trees and lots of yard space, as well as many small townhouse developments with community amenities such as pool and tennis courts. - Nov 2009

Housing can be pretty nice, depending on your paygrade. Alot of people live in Powell Plaza. It is a huge tower that used to be an Hotel that is now made into a housing complex. Most people that live there seem to like it. Personally I am glad I don't. - Jan 2009

Most live in walled communities with security, barred windows and an armed guard. Many communites have a pool. - Jan 2009

Most expats who live in Kingston, live in gated communities of townhouses or apartments. Having a guard at the gate helps with who comes and goes. Commute times can vary from 20-90 minutes depending on the time of day you leave. Jamaica does not have a school bus system so many parents are on the road dropping of kids in the mornings, major traffic, and it gets worse when it rains. - May 2008

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