Typical housing you will find in Vietnam
Vietnam has all the same types of housing structures common to all major cities and rural areas of the world. In Vietnam, there is an obvious difference between urban and rural housing.
Urban housing is commercially constructed of ‘modern’ materials such as concrete, steel and glass. There are three common types of urban housing.
- Row house/street house: A multi-storied structure with a length much longer than its width. They generally face a street or an alley, can be up to six or seven stories high, and most row houses have the same regional common infrastructure and sit side-by-side to form a continuous block of homes. It is not uncommon for the ground level and first floor to be a shop or office, with the living quarters on the higher floor levels.
- Detached house: As its name implies, this is a free-standing structure on a plot of land with a ratio of no more than 50 percent. Houses almost always have a private driveway, and in most cases, a surrounding garden and boundary fence. There can be up to three levels and at least three facades that open to the surrounding environment.
- Apartment: Buildings with two or more levels with pathways, staircases and an infrastructure system that is used by many families or occupants. There are two areas in an apartment - common and private.
Rural houses, or vernacular house, are individually constructed, usually by the homeowner, and the materials used are locally available. Vernacular architecture is designed to meet localized needs and reflect local traditions. A rural house in Vietnam will most certainly have a lot of land for use of integral housing elements such as ponds, yards and gardens.
Types of rentals
According to your budget, Vietnam offers a wide variety of options.
For luxury during a fairly short-term stay, you may want to look into renting a villa. Most villas are rented as vacation stays, such as by the night or weekly, but some offer monthly rates.
If you require a lot of space, but would like to avoid the expenses of renting a villa, renting an entire house may fulfill your needs. Houses can be rented with or without furniture. Unfortunately, finding a house to rent in densely populated areas may be prove to be a difficult task.
On the other hand, because of the increase of immigration and a rising demand for residence, in large cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, apartment life has become a new trend in recent years. Therefore, it is quite easy and convenient for expats to find rental apartments. If you choose to rent an apartment, you have two options: serviced or normal. Serviced apartments are furnished, and generally offer amenities such as a reception desk, gym, restaurants and housekeeping. Normal apartments may save some money, but you will also have to deal with a landlord and establish a connection to the utilities yourself. Nevertheless, a normal apartment is probably the best option for a stay longer than just a few months. It is recommended that expats choose a newer, modern apartment versus an older one. Anything built in the 1980s and 90s are becoming quite obsolete and may have some major malfunctions.
Of course, the option to rent a room is always available. Rooms can be found furnished or unfurnished, and generally you will share a kitchen and bathroom with other housemates. This is definitely the cheapest option, and is great for those who prefer to stay in the center of town.
Estimated pricing (Nov 2012):
Houses: Between US$800 (€630) and US$3,000 (€2,360) a month.
Serviced apartments: Between US$1,200 (€942) and US$5,000 (€3,930) a month.
Normal apartments: Between US$500 (€393) and US$1,200 (€942) a month.
Room: Between US$350 (€275) to US$800 (€630).
Please consider these prices as an estimation ONLY, and on the upward level. It is most likely that you will be able to find these accommodations for much less. Also be aware that housing prices vary from city to city and from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Finding accommodation in Vietnam
Places to rent in Vietnam can be found from either word of mouth or suggestions from friends and other foreigners, with the help of your employer, by hiring a realtor affiliated with a rental property agency or from doing your own search through the local classifieds in the newspapers or online. Most websites cater to the high number expats in Vietnam and many will be available in at least Vietnamese and English, if not multilingual.
Some suggested websites to begin a search are: