Housing for Expats

Living in Hanoi is a lot of fun, but housing can be quite difficult for so many reasons. Here’s a comprehensive rental guide to help you prevent headaches and enjoy Hanoi much more.

Types of Housing for Expats in Hanoi

There are quite a few housing options for you to choose from in Hanoi. Obviously, the price tag varies too. It can start at $300 if you’re willing to compromise some comfort and go as high as $5,000.

Studio/One-Bedroom Apartment

I believe this is the most common housing option for expats anywhere. Because the cost of building one is lower, the rent is lower, too.

A studio apartment in Hanoi is of the standard size, about 30–50m2 large, and starts from $300. If you’re finding one in the prime area with great view, it can range from $500 to $700.

Studio apartment is a very cost-effective option for you if you’re here alone. If you’re with a partner, you probably want to consider a one-bedder so that you have extra space. A living room is great, a study/reading corner is even better.

Also, real estate developers in Vietnam don’t build a lot of one-bedroom apartments and I don’t understand why. Some projects don’t even have any one-bedder at all. Because of this constraint of supply, you will pay much higher rent to live in a one-bedroom apartment in a condominium complex.

That brings us to the next housing option.

High-End Apartments/Condo

I’m referring to apartments with two bedrooms or more, located in an apartment building or a condominium project. Your monthly rent will range from $800 to $1500 for a two-bedder.

If you’re going with condo, you’re in luck! In the past few years Hanoi has been flooded with new condo projects, so you have plenty of options.

A word of advice, you may want to go with projects done by reputable developers (like Vinhomes) or you run the risk of living in a building with not-so-great management. I’m sure you want that noisy bathroom exhaust fan to get fixed right away.

Of course, like all other crowded cities, the further away from the center of the city, the more affordable the rent.

Houses (Street-front and in Alleyways)

When traveling to Vietnam a few years back, my friend asked me why the houses in Vietnam are so narrow, with the width of typically 4–5m, some even thinner, like those at the older streets like Old Quarter.

Some call it “tube” houses.

Well, a long time ago, when land was not as precious and scarce as it is today, our ancestors only took enough land to live in and avoid paying extra taxes. Or at least that’s the tale I was told growing up.

Street-front houses are usually expensive to rent because well, they’re street-front, which gives lots of economic value in Vietnam. So, most working locals (and even some expats) rent houses in the alleyways to stay.

Because the houses are so narrow and typically don’t have elevators, many people can’t handle the many, many sets of stairs while others simply are afraid to walk in the alleyways at night. Also, there usually is only one kitchen on the first floor and you will have to share with others.

Still, price wise, this is probably the cheapest option. It’s not hard to rent a house with 3 bedrooms, usually one on each floor, for about $400–600, though you will have to compromise some comfort and convenience.

If you’re looking to live with a couple of friends, I think this is a great choice. You can also live with locals in houses like this too. Plenty of friendly locals are willing to give you a tour of their house. Read on, I’ll show you how to find them below.


The ultimate choice of accommodation among many high-level executives, or whoever can afford it, anywhere. Hanoi is no exception.

Needless to say, it’s a status symbol to stay in a villa and for the most obvious reason, renting villas in Vietnam is not cheap. It’s rare to find one that cost less than $1500 a month.

If you intend to rent a villa during your stay in Hanoi, you will likely have to contact property agents for viewing because most of the time, you don’t find villa owners listing the properties themselves.

Pinklaw Vietnam