Digital Nomad Exchange
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Montego Bay, Jamaica

Real Estate in Jamaica

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: People living in Jamaica offer advice about real estate. How do you find a home in Jamaica? Should you buy or rent? What is the cost of housing?

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How do I find a place to live in Jamaica?

Live in Jamaica? Answer this Question

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"We wanted to be close to the Montego Bay airport so we looked at a few parishes on the west half of the island. Falmouth is up and coming so we selected Falmouth. My husband and I are real estate agents in the US, so we just felt comfortable contacting a real estate agent to find our current house," said another person in Falmouth.

"I found my first place, through friends, and then found second place, which was perfect, thru a referral of someone i spoke to on email, for a while, who had lived in the same apt...it really is best to check out a place for a while, before you decide where you want to live...you will more than likely change your mind..at least once..," added another expat who made the move to Negril.

"Work chose it for me. A word to the wise, if work is choosing your place to stay make sure you travel to Jamaica and see it for yourself. If work expect to send you to Jamaica they should pay for a 1 week trip to the country staying in a compounded hotel with a driver available to you. Do not move to Jamaica without being there before!!," explained one foreigner living in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

"I chose my community by asking friends and family for references. I wanted to reside near the airport but not in a commercial zone. I chose Retreat Heights which is located outside of the town of Falmouth but close enough to hotels, airport and entertainment," said another in Falmouth.

"I had stayed as a vacationer in guest houses in this area. When I was looking for an apartment to live in I saw the ad say a street name in the area I loved so I had friends come look at it and send me photos for my approval," explained one expat in Ocho Rios.

"When we first moved to Ochi, we were staying in an apartment that was rented out by my husband's company. Since the apartment was a bit far from downtown and also very dark, we started looking around for a new place. Our lease was almost up, so we were actively on the lookout. A friend of ours saw a sign right outside a nice looking complex advertising a real estate agency and we called right away. Now we live in an ocean front apt and couldn't be happier," explained one person living in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Jamaica?

Live in Jamaica? Answer this Question

"I live in a scheme in Falmouth 2bd, 2bath, furnished & washing machine. Love it," said another person in Jamaica.

"We live in a single family rental house located in a subdivision, called a scheme, here in Jamaica. We have not met a lot of expats yet, but the one couple that we did meet live in a house that they purchased," added another expat who made the move to Falmouth.

"I am living in a 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom furnished townhouse in a gated community. It's brand new and beautiful," explained one foreigner living in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

"I lived in several places, and it's really a matter of personal choice..i love to swim early, in the morning, and so living close to beach or cliffs, if you're not going to have a car, is important to me..i also lived in someone else's yard, where it was very beautiful and in a garden paradise, but then i had a car, and could drive to the beach every morning...finding that the west end was more interesting for me, after a time..there are plenty of people to talk to, who will give you advice and tell you who has what, for rent.," said another in Negril.

"I live in a 2 bedroom apartment near Island village in Jamaica. I don't know of any expats locally. Work pays for this, it is basic accommodation and costs US1200 per month. Beware of living close to too much hustle and bustle such as night clubs / late bars, you will be kept up with booming reggae music all night," explained one expat in Ocho Rios.

"I am renting an apartment in a house to try out the community before making a commitment to live here permanently. Now that I am here I don't think this will be my final stop," explained one person living in Falmouth, Jamaica.

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What is the average cost of housing in Jamaica?

Live in Jamaica? Answer this Question

If you are thinking about moving to Jamaica, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"I'm renting in Falmouth a gated community. 800 monthly, pay my own utilities was lucky it came furnished. The people stay to themselves. I've had very few conversations with other occupants. A car is extra helpful! But I’d never drive in JA. This will be my second year renting. Not sure about the buying & building for myself. Too old for that & have absolutely no patience for the process.. sending good vibes! I love Jamaica," said another expat in Jamaica.

"Our housing costs are much lower than in the US. My husband and I live in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath furnished home for 60,000 Jamaican dollars (about $480 US dollars a month). Yard maintenance and water is included in the rent. It is a newer house with an open floorplan. Electricity is about $4,000 JMD (about $31 USD). Cable (Westar) is $2,700JMD a month (about $21 USD) and we get tons of good channels. Unfurnished houses here can be found for about $45,000JMD ($352 USD). Ofcourse, if you want to go really budget and talk to the right people, you can find a place for about $250 USD a month," remarked another member in Falmouth.

"I am paying $1200 USD plus utilities here. Expensive for Jamaica however this same house would cost double in Canada," explained one expat living in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

"i would say at the time, that where i lived there, was cheaper or about the same..i dont' look for too much, when there, you spend alot of time outside, and for me, the space and the a/c and things like that were not as important..never had a/c. I did want to be able to cook, of course, and make coffee and a good place to hang my laundry, as i washed by hand, most of the time, and a place to park my car, access to taxis, safe yard (important)," said another person in Negril.

"Home costs are ridiculous, I don't pay for rent, electricity etc, however these are on average 3 times the cost. Food is far far far too overpriced. I am still paid as if living in Europe and food on average is about 3-4 times more expensive here than home. Frozen stuff is extremely expensive," added another expat who made the move to Ocho Rios.

"My housing costs are significantly lower than in the US. I am paying 30,000 per month for a two bedrooms with two bathrooms. I was just lucky to get such a deal but the average cost for this apartment is 45,000-65,000 per month. My light bill is 7,000 per month but I run my a/c unit each night just to fall asleep. My water bill is between 500 and 800 per month," explained one foreigner living in Falmouth, Jamaica.

Why do people move to Jamaica?

Live in Jamaica? Answer this Question

When we asked expats what advice they would give a foreigner before buying a property in Jamaica, they said:

"Buying a home here is a process, and you do not want to leave that home empty six months out of the year… It will be vandalized, burglarized, and taken over by squatters… Depending of course, where are you buy a house," explained one foreigner living in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is one of the founders of Digital Nomad Exchange and the Founder and President of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange and Digital Nomad Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

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Montego Bay, Jamaica

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Jamaica GuideJamaica Guide
Learn what digital nomads and expats have to say about living in Jamaica.

Jamaica Forum Jamaica Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Jamaica on our Jamaica forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Jamaica Index Jamaica Index
An index of all of our site's Jamaica information.

Contribute to Jamaica Network Contribute
Help others in Jamaica by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Jamaica.

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