Best Places to Live in Saudi Arabia For Expats |

Best Places to Live in Saudi Arabia For Expats

Planning on moving or shifting houses in Saudi Arabia? Here's your guide to the best places you can move to

Posted on

18 July 2019

Last updated on 21 July 2019
Best Places to Live in Saudi Arabia For Expats

Finding the right place to live requires a lot of questions answered...

What are the best accommodation prices? What's the cost of living like there? What are the available amenities in the area? Then... will this place make me happy to live there? Is it safe? Will I be able to maintain an active social life?

And if you're looking for a place to move to in Saudi Arabia, another practical consideration would be whether to live in an expat compound or not. Western compounds in KSA are residential districts where you can relax and dress Western-style. These are like small villages with amenities on offer such as restaurants, supermarkets, playgrounds, recreational centres, libraries, pools, sports facilities, and more.

SEE ALSO: 5 Tips to Find a Job in Saudi Arabia as an Expat

Most of the time, the employer arranges your accommodation and takes care of the housing costs, however you may find yourself with the desire to move somewhere perhaps with more facilities and relative freedom especially if you have a family.

We've made the moving process easier for you by compiling the best places for expats to live in Saudi Arabia.

Expat and Western compounds in Saudi Arabia

What are properties like in expat compounds?
The accommodation tends to be generous in space are built in a contemporary style. Most are washed with light paints and include a backyard, patio, and a shared community swimming pool. Some compounds have houses that fitted wall-to-wall to each other, while others have villas with large spaces and backyards between them. Lots of greenery, well-maintained streets, and facilities.

What are the costs of Western compounds?
Western compounds in Saudi Arabia have a higher cost compared to living off-compound. The price can range between SAR 90,000 - 200,000 for a three-bedroom fully furnished villa. Expats enjoy a range of facilities and amenities, including strong on-site security.

Who lives in Western compounds?
The compounds mostly consist of - if not all - expats with families. Majority of compounds do not allow Saudi nationals to reside in and are only exclusive to expats.

What's life like in Western compounds?
Western compounds tend to replicate a similar lifestyle that expats have back home. Residents are allowed to wear Western clothing and can enjoy more freedom and security, making it ideal for those with families.

SEE ALSO: 5 Realities of Growing Up in a Saudi Compound

Bigger, luxurious compounds mimic suburban villages with their own parks, movie theatres, markets, etc.

Best Places to Live in Saudi Arabia For Expats

Photo credit: Canary Village

Off-compound living in Saudi Arabia

Off-compound accommodation is much cheaper compared to expat/Western compounds, and are usually closer to the city centre. Two to three-bedroom off-compound apartments range between SAR 30,000 - SAR 60,000. With off-compound living, there's more freedom for inviting guests whereas in compounds you would need to provide a list and details of your guest to management, as security is very strict for compounds.

1. Dammam

Dammam lies in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia where most of the country's oil industry thrives. Expats who work for petrochemical companies find accommodation in Dammam and its neighbouring areas Dharan and Al Khobar. It's an ideal place if you have a family with children.

The area is less congested due to being the least populated major city in KSA. The city has many facilities and constructions, and Bahrain is less than an hour away. During summers, Dammam experiences high and humid temperatures up to 50°C.

What are properties like in Dammam?
Expat compounds in Dammam range between apartments and suburban residences with villas.

Average prices of expat compounds in Dammam:

  • 3 bedroom apartments: SAR 70,000
  • 3 bedroom villas: SAR 110,000
  • 4 bedroom apartments: SAR 120,000
  • 4 bedroom villas: SAR 150,000
Best Places to Live in Saudi Arabia For Expats

Pictured: Dammam

2. Jeddah

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia's biggest port and second-largest city is located near the coast of the Red Sea. Residents are mostly foreigners, and you can enjoy a relaxed, fairly cosmopolitan living contributed by the high activity of art and culture in the area. Jeddah is also quite tolerant and liberal as women are allowed to practice law.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Things to Do in Jeddah

As it's located near the Red Sea, activities such as scuba diving and sailing are popular among Saudi nationals and expats. The lifestyle in Jeddah is best suited for expats who are in the medical field or are businessmen/businesswomen based in trading and manufacturing.

What are properties like in Jeddah?
Expat compounds in Jeddah vary between apartments and suburban communities with villas.

Average prices of expat compounds in Jeddah:

  • 2 bedroom apartments: SAR 40,000
  • 3 bedroom apartments: SAR 75,000
  • 4 bedroom apartments: SAR 120,000
  • 3 bedroom villas: SAR 120,000
  • 4 bedroom villas: SAR 170,000
Best Places to Live in Saudi Arabia For Expats

Pictured: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

3. Riyadh

The most populated city in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is a land-locked area in the middle of the desert that experiences lower temperates compared to other cities in the region. The law is more strictly enforced in Riyadh, thus the place is very conservative.

A sprawling, bustling metropolis where traffic is hectic most of the time. Despite how disorganised and congested the city is, you can find almost anything you're looking for as there are large shopping centres and innumerable markets.

Ideal for expats who work in government projects, telecom, and banking. Sandstorms are frequent in the city, resulting in allergies and high pollution levels.

What are properties like in Riyadh?
A mix of villa and apartment compounds. The cost of property in Riyadh is high, even more so the closer it is to the city centre.

Best Places to Live in Saudi Arabia For Expats

Pictured: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Average prices of expat compounds in Riyadh:

  • 1 bedroom apartments: SAR 40,000
  • 2 bedroom apartments: SAR 60,000
  • 3 bedroom apartments: SAR 70,000
  • 3 bedroom villas: SAR 100,000
  • 4 bedroom villas: SAR 130,000