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What do the typical houses in the Dominican Republic look like? A guide

Posted by juan on August 16, 2021
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Houses in other countries often look very different from what we are used to. And there are usually good reasons for this. So if you are wondering what typical houses in the Dominican Republic look like, this is the perfect article. We explain the types of houses you will find in the Dominican Republic, as well as the materials and other information used.

Let’s start with a short list of references, then we’ll go into the details …

Types of houses in the Dominican Republic
⦁ Apartments, mostly in cities
⦁ Rural lots, mostly farms and fincas
⦁ Sustainable houses
⦁ Barracks, small huts and bohios in plantation regions

How these houses look and are built depends on various factors and also reflects colonial influences, which we will discuss in a moment. Some are particularly suitable for buying the property on which they stand, while others are ideal properties for sale.

Rural properties in particular are in great demand and prices are still relatively low compared to other types of property. You can find some good examples of rural land here. 

The most common house types in the Dominican Republic

Below are more details on the most common types of property you are likely to find.

Detached houses

Remote and detached houses are usually villas  or a group of detached houses surrounded by gated grounds. This ensures greater privacy and possibly a piece of land surrounding the property. These are the main reasons many choose to buy detached houses in the Dominican Republic.

On average, 80% are   detached houses in the Dominican Republic of which 62% are in the capital alone.

Detached houses usually have direct access from the street. Single-family homes in the Dominican Republic are also considered exclusive and can be inhabited by wealthy or large families

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Apartments are the type of living that has been gaining popularity in the Dominican Republic recently.

They are the most common type of property that has been built in the capital in recent years. According to current data, 6.8% of houses across the country are currently apartments and account for 24% of houses in the central part of Santo Domingo.

The apartments in the Dominican Republic are almost the same as are commonly found around the world.

These buildings are like many other apartments you may know that offer a shared entrance from the hallway or a staircase, direct access to the street.

As a rule, they are between 4 and 8 floors high and contain two adjacent apartments on each floor.

The style or architecture of the apartments in the Dominican Republic varies, of course, which is mainly due to the colonial influences.

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Houses in the country and farms or fincas (small farms) are characterized by a unique style and architecture that uses materials typical of the region.

Rural houses also have a specific system of construction, using simple industrial elements, with the volumetric results, colors, details and spatial relationships clearly helping to identify the group of people or community residing in the region or the House living.

A typical Dominican house in rural areas or on farms consists of simple rooms with a rectangular floor plan and is usually divided into two adjoining parts that make up the main living space, along with one or two bedrooms for residents to sleep in.

In the traditional, non-modernized versions of these homes, the kitchen and latrine are usually outside the home. The houses also usually have a wooden arbor that is roofed with palm leaves to protect them from sunlight and heat.


The floors of these houses often consist of compacted earth. This is a traditional technique in many Asian countries, in which foundations, floors and walls are built from natural raw materials such as earth, chalk, lime or gravel.

In some houses the floors are made of wood and increasingly also of cement. The floors usually extend 30 cm above the house and serve as a protective base or platform for the house.

For some types of houses, there are no subdivisions in the villages, rural areas or farms. In most cases, the structuring or the scheme of these houses does not follow a fixed plan or criteria and almost always appears painterly unorganized.

This is mostly a consequence of the lifestyle and occupation of certain groups or communities in these villages, rural areas or farms. Most of the daily life is spent outside of the house to earn a living, so the house is mainly used for eating and sleeping.

The three property types mentioned above make up the majority of real estate in the Dominican Republic. But to help you identify other properties in the process of your search , let’s discuss some of the less common properties you may come across.

Sustainable houses

These homes, which make up about 0.9% of homes in the Dominican Republic, are built through the reuse of materials and improvised floor plans based on readily available materials. Usually on a smaller budget.

Typically, they are built with what people can find and have access to in their remote rural areas or villages, mostly wood, metal and other basic materials

Many of these types of homes are cheaper and more ready to buy and upgrade, making up only 0.9% of all homes in the Dominican Republic.

Barracks, little huts and bohios

A shack is another type of house that can be found in the Dominican Republic, although it is less common.

A barrack is usually an apartment with a single roof and is often found in the “bateyes azucareros”. This is the area of ​​the country that is traditionally surrounded by sugar mills and plantations .

It is a rural community near a sugar cane plantation, whose local economy generally lives off working in these plantations.

Usually these houses are provided by the sugar cane plantations to their workers as temporary housing units. Permanent employees in the region build their own houses such as small huts or bohios   on company-owned land.

This type of property should only be considered with a view to purchasing land   in the future .

Colonial influence on real estate in the Dominican Republic

In general, the architecture of homes in the Dominican Republic reflects the colonial influences the country has experienced over the years.

As a rule, one can find indigenous, Spanish and combined modern influences in the houses built in the Dominican Republic.

The modern influence is the result of increased tourism and popularity as a vacation destination in the Caribbean. You can see a selection of houses that are typically Caribbean vacation residences that you would buy

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Commonly used materials in Dominican Republic homes

On average, most homes in the Dominican Republic – especially those in the cities, such as apartments, villas, and independent houses – are mostly built of concrete.

Concrete is the preferred building material as it is a heavy material that helps houses keep the heat out while providing stability.

Marble ceramics are also enjoying increasing popularity in the cities of the Dominican Republic as a material for classic living styles.

Here is a table with the typical materials that are used in a typical property in the Dominican Republic. It is worth keeping this table in mind as we can advise you in this area.

Walls                               Roofs                        Floors
Concrete (formed)          Concrete                   Granite, marble, ceramic
Concrete blocks              Zinc                           Mosaic
Wood or Palmwood        Asbesto-concrete      Concrete
Tejamanil                        Yagua                        Earthen
Yagua                             Palm Leaves             Wood

More help with real estate in the Dominican Republic …

We hope that we were able to give you an overview of the typical house types in the Dominican Republic. If you need more help and guidance, please contact us , and we can help you to find the ideal home or an ideal vacation destination.

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