Cost of living in Dubai, UAE
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How much does it cost to live in Dubai?
Cost of living indicators and calculator for Dubai - table of general household expenses, costs and purchases, car prices, living costs, utilities, telephone, food, shopping, apartment or villa rental, property purchase, etc from DubaiFAQs guide to living in Dubai and the UAE.
Price guide and comparison 2000-2014 for Dubai living costs
|Item (prices in AED)||2000 price||2006 price||2008 price||2009 Jan||2009 Jul||2010 Jan||2011 Jan||2013 end|
|Accommodation (room in villa/apartment, monthly)||2000-5000||3000-7000||3000-7000||2000-6000||2000-5000||2000-6000|
|Apartment rental (studio, annual rent)||40k-80k||50-90k||40k-80k||25k-60k||20k-55k||30k-60k|
|Apartment rental (1 bdrm annual rent)||30-40,000||70-90,000||80k-120k||90k-140k||60k-100k||35k-80k||30k-75k||40k-90k|
|Apartment rental (2 bdrm per year)||100k-150k||120k-180k||75k-140k||45k-120k||35k-110k||60k-130k|
|Apartment purchase (studio - 2 bdrm)||0.6-2 million||0.2-1.5 million||0.4-2.0m|
|Bank account (minimum balance required)¹||1000-5000||1000-10,000||1000-10,000||1000-10,000||1000-20,000||3,000|
|Bar, nightclub (1 person, 1 night)||60-250||100-400||100-500||100-500||100-500||100-500||100-500|
|Beer (crate of 24 cans)||60-130||60-130||60-130||60-130||70-130|
|Book - paperback novel||40-80||20-100||20-100||20-100||10-100|
|Car purchase (new)||25-200,000||25-300,000||30k-2m|
|Car purchase (new Ford Mondeo, Toyota Camry)||60-95,000||60-100,000|
|Car purchase (new 4wd Cherokee, Explorer, Prado)||90-155,000||90-180,000|
|Car purchase (reliable medium saloon 2nd hand)||30-80,000||30-80,000|
|Car purchase (reliable 4wd 2nd hand)||50-100,000||50-100,000|
|Car rental (small, one day)||90||100||100||100||60-100||70-120|
|Car tires, tyres (cost for one tyre)||300-2000||300-2000||300-2000||400-2500|
|Cigarettes (pack, carton), half price for cheap brands3||4, 35||5, 45||6, 50||6-7, 55||6-8, 65||6-10, 65|
|Clothes (per month)||100-2000||100-2000||100-2000||100-3000|
|Coffee (latte, cappuccino) in a Dubai cafe||14-18||14-20|
|Computer purchase (laptop, notebook)||2000-10,000||2000-10,000||2000-10,000||1500-10k|
|Computer purchase (netbook)||1000-2500||1000-2500||800-2.5k|
|Concert, Show, DJ, Sports event ticket||100-1000||100-1000||100-1000||100-1000|
|Dentist routine check up||100-250||100-250||100-250||100-500|
|Doctor visit (basic consultation, no tests)||100-250||100-250||100-250||100-500|
|Drink - can of soft drink at grocery shop||1.00||1.00||1.00||1.00||1.00||1.00-2.00||1.00-2.00|
|DVD purchase (pirate)||5-10||5-10||5-10||5-10||5-10||5-10|
|DVD purchase (genuine)||20-80||20-100||25-100||25-100||25-100||25-100|
|Education (see "school fees" below)|
|Eggs (one dozen)||5.00||7.00||9.00||9.00||9.00||8-15|
|Flowers (bunch bought at supermarket)||25-100||25-100||25-100||50-200|
|Furniture (IKEA UAE for 1 bdrm apt)||10-20,000||10-20,000||10-20,000||10k-25k|
|Grocery shopping (1 person, per week)||200-600||250-800||250-800||200-1,000|
|Hamburger (Big Mac)||10.00||12.00||14.00||14.00||15.00||15.00|
|Hotel (Deira dump, per room, 1 night)||200-400||200-400||150-400||200-400|
|Hotel (5 star, double room per night)||700-3000||500-3000||400-3000||800-5000|
|Hotel (Burj Al Arab, Al Maha, Armani 1 night)||4000-15,000||1500-15,000|
|Household contents insurance (annual, studio)||100-500||200-1,000||200-1,000||200-1,000|
|Household contents insurance (annual, villa)||500-5,000||500-7,000||1k-10k|
|Internet connection (DSL, monthly)||200-300||200-300||150-300||100-1000|
|Internet connection (mobile broadband, monthly)||400-700||150-400||100-1000|
|Jewellery (18-22 carat gold, per gram)||30-40||50-60||80-90||80-90||80-90||90-120|
|Jewellery (thin gold necklace, small gold earrings)||100-200||150-300||200-500||200-500||200-500|
|Magazine (local, foreign)||3-15, 25-75||3-15, 25-75||3-15, 25-75|
|Maid, Domestic Help, Servant, Nanny (hourly)||15-30||15-30||15-30||20-40|
|Maid, Servant, Nanny (full time per month)||1000-2000||1000-2000||1000-2000||1000-3000|
|Medical, Health Insurance (per month)||200-1000||200-1000||200-1000||200-1500|
|Milk (one litre)||3.00||9.00||10.00||10.00||10.00||10.00|
|Milk (UHT long-life, pack of 4x1 liter)||15.00||15.00|
|Mobile phone purchase (see "Telephone" for calls)||200-2000||100-2000||100-2000||100-2000|
|Motorcycle (Harley Davidson, new)||35-100,000|
|Motorcycle (Japanese, new)||10-60,000|
|Movie, Cinema ticket (standard-VIP)||25||25-30||30||30||30-120||35-150|
|Newspaper, daily (local, foreign)||2-3, 10-20||2-3, 10-20||2-3, 10-20||3-5, 10-20|
|Oil & Filter change, medium size car (not dealer)||80||100||120||120||120||200|
|Petrol, Gasoline price per gallon²||4.00||6.25||6.25||6.25||6.25||6.25||7.50||7.50|
|Petrol price in UAE per liter (approx)²||0.90||1.40||1.40||1.40||1.40||1.40||1.70|
|PO Box rental (per year)||150-200||150-200||150-200||150-200|
|Postage stamp (standard letter < 20g)||0.50-3.50||0.50-3.50||0.50-3.50||0.50-3.50||0.50-3.50|
|Public Transport (abra, bus, or metro trip)||0.50-2.00||0.50-2.00||1.00-4.00||1.00-4.00||1.00-6.00||1.00-6.00|
|Restaurant (cheap, food court, or cafe, no alcohol)||10-50||10-50||10-50||10-50||10-80||10-100||10-100|
|Restaurant (with alcohol, 1 person)||100-200||150-300||150-400||150-400||150-400||200-500|
|School fees (per year per child)||1k-40k||1k-50||1k-90k||1k-90||1k-90k||1k-100k||2k-100k|
|Shawarma (chicken or lamb), cheap restaurant||1.50-2.50||2.00-3.00||2.00-3.00||2.00-3.00||2.00-3.00||2.00-5.00|
|Spirits (Whisky, Gin, Vodka bottle shop purchase)||10-200||10-200||10-200||20-200|
|Taxi in Dubai (short to long trip within Dubai)||10-60||10-80||10-100||10-100|
|Telephone calls (mobile, per month)||100-1000||100-1000||100-1000||100-1000|
|Telephone landline (calls free or cheap within UAE)|
|Television (CRT, new)||200-2000||200-2000||200-2000|
|Television (LCD, plasma TV new, 32"-52")||2000-15,000||2000-15,000||1000-10,000||800-10,000||800-10k|
|Television (cable, satellite per month)||100-200||100-200||100-200||100-500|
|Utilities (water, power) per month per person||100-500||100-500||100-500||100-500|
|Villa rental (annual)||100k-200k||150k-400k||200k-500k||90k-400k||80k-300k||75k-250k||100k-400k|
|Villa purchase||2-10 million||2.5-15 million||1-5 million||2.5-10m|
|Water (1.5 liter bottle)||1-2||1-2||1-2||1.00-2.00|
|Water (5 gallon bottle, delivered)||7-9||7-10||7-10||10.00|
|Wine (house bottle in restaurant)||80||125||150-200||150-250||150-350||150-500|
|Wine (purchase in bottle shop, duty-free)||10-200||10-200||10-200||10-500|
- Most or all banks in the UAE require customers to have a minimum balance at all times. Usually higher for current accounts versus savings accounts (see also cheques in the UAE). Fees charged if customer goes below that amount are usually around AED 50-100 dhs per month while below the minimum.
- See UAE petrol price for more information about gas price increases and hikes.
- 08 June 2011 - cigarette prices to increase by 29% according to news reports (from about 6-9 dhs per pack). 24 January 2012 (WAM) - tobacco taxes to increase (but unknown by how much or when). 19 April 2012 - cigarette prices in Dubai (not clear if Dubai only, or the rest of the UAE also) to double (to about 10-16 dhs per packet) from August 2012 according to newspaper reports ... but on 20 April 2012 further reports said there was no price rise, or confusion about the price increase, with conflicting comments or no comments from various authorities and ministries in Dubai, for example, a Gulf News report said "Dubai Health Authority Director General Qadi Al Murooshid has denied media reports, which claimed that the emirate is planning to double tobacco prices in August."
Notes about living costs and money in the UAE
- The UAE currency is the United Arab Emirates dirham, divided into 100 fils, and is pegged to the US$ at the rate of US$1 = AED 3.67. The rate varies slightly but not enough to notice in everyday transactions.
- Cost of living prices given for mid-ranges. Extremely cheap or expensive values (e.g. rickshaws and Bugatti Veyrons) not always included.
- Utility and telephone costs are for average use.
- Assume costs are per person unless otherwise indicated.
- For in-your-head or back-of-an-envelope quick currency conversions, divide values by 4 to get an approximate $US (USD) estimate (correct rate is 3.67 but values below are very approximate mostly anyway).
- Divide by 3 for $CAN (CAD) Canada
- Divide by 5 for €Euros (EUR) Europe
- Divide by 2 or 3 for $AU (AUD) Australia
- Divide by 5 or 6 for £UK (GBP) United Kingdom
- Multiply by 10 or 12 for Indian Rupees (INR)
- Multiply by 20 for Pakistan Rupees (PKR)
- Divide by 10 for Oman Riyals (OMR), Bahrain Dinars (BHD)
- Divide by 10 or 12 for Kuwait Dinars (KWD)
- No change for Saudi Riyals (SAR), Qatar Riyals (QAR) (rates are close to 1:1)
- Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait currency units are split into 1000 fils, not 100 fils per unit. Saudi, Qatar, and UAE are 100 fils per unit.
- Remember these are only indicative cost ranges and is not a comprehensive COL index. Living costs in Dubai vary a great deal depending on lifestyle and preferences.
- During 2008, property rental and purchase prices soared in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. As 2008 ended, the effects of the global credit crunch contributed to a freezing up of property sales in Dubai, with property prices starting to decline (substantially for some areas). Property and rental prices subsequently collapsed, by 50% or more in 2009, bottomed out in 2010-2011, stayed there in 2011-2012, and in 2013 started to rise again. Expect rental and property prices to increase in 2014 and possibly 2015 depending on how quickly they rise in 2014.
- It is common for accommodation rental payments to be requested advance for an entire year. It is less common in 2008 and going into 2009 for tenants to accept that, and more frequent smaller payments are offered and negotiated. Two to four cheques was common in 2008, and going into 2009, it was possible (but still rare) to make 12 monthly payments. As of 2013, many landlords still try to get 1 or 2 cheques for the annual payments, and as property prices go up, this system is likely to remain in place for the forseeable future, however there are also many landlords willing to negotiate the number of cheques, with 2-4 a common number. In all cases it is still usual to write Post-Dated cheques (PDCs) all in advance.
- Most goods available in the UAE are imported from the country of manufacture. That means your favorite boerwurst or Marks n Sparks knickers are going to cost more than if you bought them at home. There is also a small amount of Dubai import duty that gets added to most goods. Apart from that there are no other taxes for the most past so some items which are heavily taxed in other countries are much cheaper in Dubai and the UAE (cars, cigarettes for example). Currency exchange rates will also have an effect (both positive and negative). As a very broad generalisation though, expect to pay 20% to 50% more for most goods compared to buying the same locally produced items in your home country.
Cost of living comparisons and information
- Expat surveys sometimes include a COL review or index, comparing to other cities popular with expats for example London and Singapore.
- Yahoo Answers seems to regularly throw up a COL question and answer for Dubai, Abu Dhabi, UAE. But there are large variations between the answer and reality since the COL varies substantially for people in different walks of life. For example a middle class Indian family living in Sharjah is usually more conservative in their spending and expenses than a bachelor living in the Burj Khalifa, and single people on a high salary expat package are not doing a COL calculation as often as families paying for school fees and apartment or villa rentals out of their own salaries, so the answer needs to be read with a view to who it is appropriate for.
Headings to add
- Cost of living Dubai for a bachelor, single person, family, Indian family.
- Cost of living Dubai comparison vs Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, London, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Singapore (cities). India, US, USA (countries).
Last update Thursday 20-Mar-2014.
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