8 April, 2011
Dubai - the cost of living
How much does daily life cost in Dubai? Housing, the weekly shop, eating out, getting around...it all adds up. Here’s some info to help you do the maths.
While rents have dropped considerably from their dizzy heights of a few years ago, this is still going to be your single biggest expense to take into consideration. Most salary packages include a housing benefit element but this may not cover the full amount for your chosen location. Paying a monthly amount to your landlord is also rare in the UAE and you’ll need to make arrangements to pay your annual rent in anything from one to four lump sums.
There are many different property types available in the city with a wide range of average rents depending on the area and facilities for residents. One bedroom apartments in popular areas such as Dubai Marina & Jumeirah Lake Towers are available from as little as 45k-55k AED per year with two bedrooms currently (March 2011) renting for around 110k AED per year. Family villas in areas such as Emirates Living (Meadows, The Springs, The Lakes) will cost around 200-280k for three to four bedrooms.
To find out the average prices for properties to rent or buy in all areas take a look at our Market Price Live tool.
Those with children will find that school fees eat up a considerable amount of income. There is no government-funded education for expat children so you must factor the cost of education into your budget. Many employer benefits packages do include schools fees but this is often not enough to cover the amounts charged by top establishments.
Fees vary depending on the school and its reputation but you can expect to pay between 15k and 28k for KG1/Reception and up to 60k AED for Grades 12 & 13 at Dubai’s top educational establishments.
Some schools will charge a non-refundable deposit to put your child on the waiting list.
A tank of gas will cost you around 120 AED.
Taxis in Dubai have a minimum charge of 10 AED and an average fare from new Dubai (Marina) to old (Bur) Dubai will cost around 50 AED.
Metro fares ranges from a minimum of 1.8 AED to a maximum 6.5 AED for a single journey, depending on the distance covered.
If you know where to go, you can eat like a king in Dubai for as little as 20 AED . Sampling the myriad of cheap, street food options in areas like Bur Dubai and Karama is a great way to spend an evening too. You can also spend like royalty in the city’s top restaurants where a meal for two with wine can cost upwards of 800 AED.
The weekly shop
Prices on some items - especially imported goods - can vary widely from shop to shop. If you must have those hard-to-find biscuits or bread from the UK or US you can expect to pay up to three times the amount you would back home. Local goods such as bread & milk have more standardised prices however, so you can expect to pay around 4 AED for local bread and 10 AED for 2 litres of milk. If you can’t go without bacon or a ‘proper’ sausage, be aware that you’ll pay a premium on pork products which can only be found in special rooms of specific supermarkets.
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