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

Serviced apartments. However, recent USG guidelines require you to pay for the cleaning service; otherwise, no maid service. - May 2019

Nice, modern, serviced apartments close to work. Some are within walking distance, some a little farther but have shuttles. People are generally happy with their apartments. The serviced apartment concept takes away the feeling of a home that you can make your own, however, and storage space is limited. Kitchens are small, as are fridges and ovens. - Nov 2018

Most families live at the Canton Towers or on Ersha Island. Singles are in the W, Ascott, and the other Oakwood downtown. Commutes are short. We live on the island and a bus takes us to work everyday, 10 mins max. The apartments are nice, not gigantic, but plenty for a family. The island is quite beautiful with plenty of parks. There are tons of families here so you'll have plenty to do if you have young kids. - Nov 2015

There are a number of different housing locations. Since the move to the new Consulate, all of the locations I've seen have extremely nice apartments in well-appointed buildings. If you stay at the Canton Residences, you'll get weekly cleaning and a free breakfast buffet. Everyone I knew seemed pretty happy with their living arrangements once the old consulate tower closed, and people were moved out. Commute time can vary, but they've tried very hard to get everyone closer to the NCC. A lot of families were living on Ersha Island, which is right near the American school and a bit more suburban/residential feeling. There are also apartments out at Golden Lake, which is great if you want to be a ways out of town, but it makes for a lengthy commute to get into town for work, shopping, et cetera. If you're single or don't have kids, I'd probably recommend trying to avoid Golden Lake, if possible. - Aug 2014

Foreign Affairs provided housing. It is excellent. The best, most luxurious living I imagine I'll ever experience in my life. - May 2013

Many consulate families, especially those without kids, live in a number of high-rise apartments in the New Town or Tianhe areas of the city. These areas contain many restaurants and malls and are close to the new consulate, which should open this summer. Many families with kids live either in condos on Ersha Island (quiet area by the river with a big park, but no subway station) or in single-family homes just outside of city center (huge houses, clubhouse amenities, green space, doesn't feel like China, but traveling to the city can be difficult without a car). The single-family homes aside, the living accommodations are nice, but they are small by American standards. - Apr 2013

Most consulate families live in apartments. There are some single family homes that are farther outside of town. The apartments are all phenomenal! It's almost embarrassing the number of amenities they provide. Commute time is 5 - 20 minutes depending on where you live. - Jan 2013

All over the place, many types, huge quality variations. Consulate staff seem to be assigned housing in an almost random way, since the consulate is currently spread out across multiple locations. There are people who live at the actual consulate building but work in the offsite consular or at the Garden Hotel. Still others live near the new consulate construction site but work at the old consulate building which is a 45 minute subway ride or a 25-55 minute cab ride away. Very little outward sense in the way housing is assigned. Quality has huge variations. Ersha Island and New World are very nice large landlord furnished apartments. Apartments at the consulate are gross, mold infested, and have not been updated in years. The furniture is old, dirty and smell. While the apartments at the consulate may be large I would NEVER live there. - Oct 2011

The consulate provides spacious apartments to its employees. Some of the new housing coming online now includes suburban-style single family homes about a half hour outside of town. - May 2011

There are three current housing locations. Most people live in the same building as the consulate, which is housed on a lush, quiet, and very charming island smack dab in the middle of the old district of Guangzhou. Families with children live at Oakwood on another island further down the Pearl River - not as charming, no stores, but the apartments are spacious, there's a pool, a grocery store, room service (and feels very much like a resort in Orlando). As the consulate will be moving locations in a few years, there is new housing at a new, third location (New World) which is in the middle of the soon-to-be new financial center of Guangzhou. There are rumors of a City Super (groceries) moving in close to the complex, and stores and shops abound. Commutes depend on where you live and work, as the consulate is on one island, the consular section across the city, and other offices scattered in hotels. Commutes for most people are 20 - 45 min. - Jul 2009

For the U.S. Consulate there are apartments in the consulate building and two other sites that have private apartments. Traditionally people without kids live in the Consulate and those without live at the other complexes, but as the community grows this is changing. - Jan 2009

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