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How to Find Accommodation in Angola?

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The Angolan real estate market is very congested offering one of the world’s most expensive housing options. Most of the dwellings are concentrated in the capital of the country – Luanda, and as foreigners arriving in Angola for work usually aren’t allowed to move outside of Luanda, finding a proper accommodation can be very frustrating. The good news is that most hiring companies shoulder their employees’ housing needs, assist in finding an appropriate accommodation and even pay for it.

Housing that would suit foreigners is located basically in the southern part of the capital, in compounds. The prices are very high and the demand is even higher. At the same time, the quality of the accommodation is usually lower than most foreigners’ expectations. The capital, which was initially designed to shelter only half a million of citizens, is now home to almost 4 million people (almost 3 million officially). People from urban areas continue to rush to the capital in order to try their wings and earn money. So the local real estate market works the way that newcomers must overpay in order to underget.

Of course, the locals aren’t likely to compete with the foreigners, as the Angolans usually don’t claim for the most expensive and high-quality accommodation and settle basically in poorer temporary dwellings in Luanda’s outskirts. But the general tension warms up the prices for all housing options making accommodation in Luanda an extremely expensive treat. As foreigners are likely to prefer more secure housing with decent facilities, they have to pay even a higher price. Finding accommodation outside of Luanda isn’t easier, as the options are fewer while the demand is still very high. Cheaper options (like down-market hotels) are booked several months in advance.

Cost of Dwelling

The Angolan government makes efforts to fight the housing shortage by building new residential areas around big cities, for example, Luanda. But the means how they do that hardly solve the problem. For example, the notorious ghost town Kilumba (built by Chinese companies back in 2003) for 200 thousand apartments, which cost the country almost 3.5 billion USD, so far stays empty because the Angolans cannot afford the price. Lots of apartments are being built today, but the developers, again, focus on people with big money rather than average population.

Your Housing Options

Before accepting an offer from your Angolan employer, you need to make sure that your employment package includes housing allowances. A well-established oil or gas company takes care about its foreign experts and lodges them in well-maintained, secure, and spacious houses located in compounds. If your employer is like this, you have nothing to worry about. If your housing allowances aren’t included, you need to make sure you prospective salary is sufficient for renting an accommodation.

Choosing an accommodation, you have to take into consideration some important points: living in such compounds is comfortable if you arrive in Angola with a family and you enlist your kids in any of the international schools located nearby. The compounds are usually equipped with facilities such as a swimming pool or a gym. The drawback is that a commute to work and back can take hours. Rental costs are very high. If you decided to rent it on your own, you would pay 10k-30k USD per month depending on the apartment’s size, location and a set of facilities.

The 3 most popular areas for expats are Miramar (a prestigious area where rich Angolans and diplomats live), Talatona (a new suburb with parks and villas), and Luanda Sul (a satellite of the capital that offers some good international school, shop and housing options but is awful in terms of commute).

If you arrive alone, it is more reasonable to settle in the city centre closer to your work and to save time and efforts this way. For 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre, you will have to sacrifice up to 4k USD per month (or 2k USD if you rent in the suburb). A 3-bedroom (unfurnished) apartment in the city centre will cost you over 7k USD a month. The same accommodation but in the outskirts of Luanda would cost you over 3k USD a month. Now imagine the salary you need to get in order to afford such rent.

If you have a short-time contract, you will probably be lodged in a hotel suite. In the city centre, the hotels are quite decent but the standards may still vary from what you got used to in your home country.

Whatever option you choose, you should consider what kind of means the accommodation has to cope with electricity and water turn offs (for example, water tanks and generators) as the supply of these utilities are quite unstable in Angola.

How to Find Accommodation in Angola?

If you already know for sure that your employer doesn’t provide you with the suitable housing, you can try to find it on your own, but prepare for a tough battle. You can start your search from abroad using these services: Arcadia, Mondinion, or World Estate. They provide information for both rent and sale and let you taste the prices and your opportunities. If you plan to stay in the hotel right after your arrival, it is of paramount importance to book the room at least 1 month in advance. Remember that some companies book apartments for their short-term staff in the hotels, so there are never lots of free rooms.

Once you are already in Luanda, you need to find a reliable real estate agent in order to continue your search. To find one, address your embassy or ask other expats. The agent will contact the landlords and offer you what they have. It is also possible to rent directly from the developer or their authorised agents. Please, bear in mind that the represented price of rent isn’t final: add to this the agent’s fee and the fact that landlords in Angola usually ask the rent in advance – sometimes for a year or more.

You can also seek for an accommodation through newspapers: the weekly Angolense and the daily Jornal de Angola in Portuguese or The Zambezian in English which are also available online.

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