Cost Of Living In Dubai

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Cost of Living in Dubai Dec 05, 2007
What is the cost of living in Dubai?
updated: January 2014
DubaiRoad.jpg


How much does stuff cost in Dubai? What are the usual expenses? What income is required for a decent lifestyle in Dubai?
http://www.lulu.com/content/4406724

How long is a piece of string? This is a topic that comes up regularly, and perhaps needs some discussion.

There are two ways of measuring “cost of living”; one is a purely financial analysis of the situation, comparing the prices of various items to similar or the same items around the world, in effect comparing apples with apples.

The second way to look at it, and which should possibly be looked at in conjunction with the financial analysis is the personal lifestyle/ standard of living comparison. In order to do that, you need to establish a “standard of living” baseline; obviously there are a million variables that one could compare, which would simply bog down any form of useful comparison and be far to a lengthy process to keep up to date.

What I have done is draft 4 rough, general profiles, these are by no means perfect or even indicative of all walks of life, but they do address the issues of the “hierarchy of needs” in varying degrees. This gives four cross sections through a typical society; you may not fit into any one exactly, but I would say that if three quarters of a Category applied, then you would into that group.

There is one obvious flaw (perhaps more) in the system I am proposing, which is people come to Dubai to earn money to ultimately improve there standard of living and that of their families. In this respect your current personal circumstance may put you into Category C, but you are actually looking to move to Category B (in a short space of time), and ultimately Category A. A person wanting to save frantically to buy a house in their home country for example, may currently be in Category C, but may have to move down to Category D to achieve their immediate goal.

Category A

i) I have a good, stable, long-term job with a steady income; I am well educated and feel successful
ii) I have little or no debt
iii) I own my own home, and perhaps even a holiday home
iv) I own my own vehicle or number of family vehicles
v) I have sufficient savings and have provided for my retirement
vi) I eat out on a regular basis and enjoy outings to the movies, theatre etc.
vii) I can afford the luxuries in life
viii) I have a good, healthy family and family life and plenty of friends
ix) My children attend private schools

Category B

i) I have a good, stable job with a steady income
ii) I have a small or medium sized mortgage on the property I live in
iii) I own my own car or have only a small loan outstanding on it
iv) I have little or manageable debt, a credit card and some store accounts
v) I have some savings and have started making provision for my retirement
vi) I eat out sometimes and enjoy outings to the movies, theatre etc. when I can afford it
vii) Can afford the luxuries in life on odd occasions, but sometimes have to make compromises
viii) I have a good family life and a number of close friends
ix) My children attend private or good public schools

Category C

i) I have an “okay” job, perhaps not as good as I would like, but it pays the bills
ii) I have a large mortgage on a property, don’t own a property and rent
iii) I don’t own a vehicle and make use of public transport
iv) I have a fair bit of debt, sometimes my earnings aren’t sufficient to get me though the month comfortably and have to compromise on the things I would really like to buy
v) I have no savings and have made little or no provision for my retirement
vi) I can’t afford any luxury items
vii) My children attend public schools

Category D

i) I don’t have permanent employment, sometimes I take part-time work to make ends meet, or I may have to work two jobs to get through the month
ii) I have little or no credit rating
iii) I rent or stay with family and am sometimes behind in paying my rent
iv) I only use public transport, walk or get a lift with friends
v) I have no savings what-so-ever
vi) I never eat out
vii) The only luxury items I see are in magazines
viii) My children attend public schools

Assumptions:
• Largely based on “Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs”, that a happy, motivated person will strive to fulfil the 5 basic needs in life (physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization).
• Meeting these needs contributes the social well-being of an individual and therefore is a measure of their “lifestyle” and social standing; supporting this comes at a financial cost. This “socio-economic” group influences where you can afford to stay, what schools you can afford to send your children to, what you can afford to drive etc.
• The persons I am trying to profile fall into the highly educated, educated or highly skilled definitions of employment only, this does not include people who, by Dubai standards would be considered “unskilled”!
• The table below (and where applicable) is based on a married couple with a single child. Some of the figures can be extrapolated on the basis of a single person or married couple with no children (or more than one child).
• My opinion only, although figures are based on actual market figures

What you can expect to spend/ pay to maintain the same standard of living per Category indicators above:

Category A
Housing/ rental 180,000 – 250,000 p.a. (villa)
Housing – levy 24,000 – 36,000 p.a.
Vehicle (Purchase price) 120,000 +
Vehicle (Financed price) 8,000 p.m.
Electricity/ water 10,000 – 24,000 p.a.
Schooling Kindergarten 10,000 – 12,000 p.a.
Schooling Grade 1 – 6 (1 child) 18,000 p.a.
Schooling Grade 7 – 12 (1 child) 24,000 p.a.
Food 4,000 p.m. +
Entertainment 3,000 p.m. +
Clothing Per month – family of 3 1,500 – 3,500 p.m.
Cost of having a child at a hospital in the UAE 25,000 – 35,000

Category B
Housing/ rental 120,000 – 180,000 p.a. (villa)
Housing – levy 18,000 – 24,000 p.a.
Vehicle (Purchase price) 65,000 – 120,000
Vehicle (Financed price) per month 2,300 – 4,300 p.m.
Electricity/ water 8,000 – 12,000 p.a.
Schooling Kindergarten 10,000 – 12,000 p.a.
Schooling Grade 1 – 6 (1 child) 16,000 – 17,000 p.a.
Schooling Grade 7 – 12 (1 child) 20,000 – 24,000 p.a.
Food 2,500 – 4,000 p.m.
Entertainment 1,500 – 3,000 p.m.
Clothing Per month – family of 3 1,000 – 2,000 p.m.
Cost of having a child at a hospital in the UAE 25,000 – 30,000

Category C
Housing/ rental 80,000 – 120,000 p.a. (small villa, but more likily an apartment)
Housing – levy 12,000 – 18,000 p.a.
Vehicle (Purchase price) 50,000 – 65,000
Vehicle (Financed price) per month 1,800 – 2,300 p.m.
Electricity/ water 6,000 – 7,000 p.a.
Schooling Kindergarten 10,000 – 12,000 p.a.
Schooling Grade 1 – 6 (1 child) 16,000 – 17,000 p.a.
Schooling Grade 7 – 12 (1 child) 20,000 – 24,000 p.a.
Food 1,500 – 2,500 p.m.
Entertainment 1,000 – 1,500 p.m.
Clothing Per month – family of 3 500 – 1,200 p.m.
Cost of having a child at a hospital in the UAE 9,000 – 15,000

Category D
Housing/ rental < 80,000 - possibly shared accommodation (normally apartments only)
Housing – levy 500 – 1,000 – possibly included in rent
Vehicle (Purchase price) < 50,000 or public transport
Vehicle (Financed price) Depending on age of vehicle no finance may be available
Electricity/ water 1,000 – 5,000 possibly shared
Schooling Kindergarten < 6,000 state schools Arabic medium
Schooling Grade 1 – 6 (1 child) < 8,000 state schools Arabic medium
Schooling Grade 7 – 12 (1 child) < 12,000 state schools Arabic medium
Food < 1,500
Entertainment < 1,000
Clothing Per month – family of 3 300 – 1,000
Cost of having a child at a hospital in the UAE < 9,000 government hosp. only

Scenario/ comparative example

Category A family of 3, starting out in Dubai, rents a property (levy included in price), gets a company vehicle and purchases on terms a second for his wife. The child attends a good school in grade 6. They find out that they are pregnant and deliver a new daughter at the end of the year. The costs associated are:
Property 180k, financed vehicle 2.3 x 12 = 27.6k, schooling 18k, new baby 25k, electricity/ water 8k, food 48k, entertainment 26k = 332.6k

Category C family of 3, starting out in Dubai, rents a property (levy included in price), gets a company vehicle and purchases on terms a second for his wife. The child attends a good school in grade 6. They find out that they are pregnant and deliver a new daughter at the end of the year. The costs associated are:
Property 100k, financed vehicle 1.8 x 12 = 21.6k, schooling 17k, new baby 15k, electricity/ water 5k, food 2.0 x 12 = 24k, entertainment 12k = 194.6

Amendment: September 2009
Due to the current period of recession the local property market has taken quiet a knock. Rentals that were previously over-inflated have been dropped to more realistic levels by owners and landlords. In most instances they have dropped by between 40 and 50% of the figures I have provided above! This is still however dependant on the location and age of the property. I do expect that the local economy and related property prices will start to pick up from the end of September through December. From a rental perspective don’t expect to get more than a 1 year rental agreement as landlords hedge their bets against the property market rebounding quickly and them being locked into a 10% rental cap (per annum)

A "general" overview of rentals can be seen on the following site:
http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Housing_ ... 77137.html

A Real Budget!

I looked through some old files and found a copy of my old budget which I used to try and work to. This is on the premise that I have a wife and young daughter; I had the normal "company perks" vehicle, phone, fuel, maintenance etc. The second vehicle was my wife’s. My wife did not work at that point. I also had accounts to service "back home". My company did not provide air tickets for my wife and daughter each year. I know the rental has increased by about 15% since I used this budget.

Typical monthly overheads
[percentage figure on the right denotes % expenditure of earnings]

Salary 30,000

Rental 8,000 (26.67 %)
Apartment levy/ service fee 600 (2.00 %)
Water & Electricity800 (2.67 %)
Telephone (pre-paid) subscription (p.m)17 (0.06 %)
Telephone (pre-paid) airtime 200 (0.67 %)
Vehicle repayments 1,800 (6.00%)
Vehicle insurance & license (p.m) 150 (0.50%)
Fuel 150 (0.50%)
Showtime 150 (0.50%)
Food 4,500 (15.00%)
Clothes 400 (1.33%)
Baby - food, nappies etc. 500 (1.67%)
Baby - play and activity groups 500 (1.67%)
Eating out 300 (1.00%)
Entertainment 2,000 (6.67%)
Luxury items 1,500 (5.00%)
Holiday savings (provision) 2,000 (6.67%)
Holiday ticket money (provision) 500 (1.67%)
Bills back home (transfers out) 2,000 (6.67%)

Total 26,067 (86.89% percent of earning)
Balance 3,933 (13.11% percent of earning)

Savings & Policies
The balance of may salary (above) went into two policies which I took out while in Dubai; I had originally intended these for savings and as back-up for my pension.
Now, herein lays a moral. When I took the policies out, I hadn’t given much thought to how long I was intending on staying in Dubai (which of course I can see in hindsight), after moving from Dubai I took up a similar position but in another country, here again the salary and benefits were pretty much the same. However, the crunch came when I decided to finish my current contract, and return home for a few months. I thought naively I could en-cash the policies and use them as a down payment on a house. Not so simple, all the small print in the policies then comes out, which after a long, frustrating storey boils down to me only receiving about a quarter of the money that I have paid in over the past few years – and basically loosing the rest. Without the tax-free benefits in Dubai and the favourable exchange rate; there is no way on earth I could take up a position in my home country and continue to pay the instalments on the policies. A sad storey, but hopefully you may learn something from it a) be careful when committing to long-term polices b) read the small print c) if you do take out a policy, make sure that it is for the minimum term, you can always extend it once you have completed the first portion d) check the penalty clauses out in the policies e) remember working in Dubai is a temporary assignment at best – I would have earned and retained more money by simply putting it into a bank savings account!

How much does stuff cost?

I'm including this link; it is for the "Classifieds" section of the Khaleej Times, one of the local papers. It is published in print and on-line every day. It can be used to look for guideline prices for second-hand or new goods, vehicles and even accommodation.

http://buzzon.khaleejtimes.com/

Same as above, but for the Gulf News Classified section - note they also have an on-line jobs section

http://www.gnclassifieds.com/

Same as above
http://dubai-bb.com/

dbxsoul
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Dec 05, 2007
excellent post and good baseline info to have when considering relocating to the UAE, dubai in particular...

if anyone can add stuff like school bus, nanny/househelp costs, among others would be great :)

thanks dbxsoul
studstar
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Dec 05, 2007
I will always remain you fan. You seem to be a Human Dubai Encyclopedia for what I know if you so far.
Aeliya
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Dec 05, 2007
Thank you dbxsoul again. This kind of information is exact what I am looking from here. Helps a lot when planning a job from Dubai.
Y u c c a
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Thanks for the info Feb 15, 2008
Great info! Thanks a lot, I am sure you could charge for this!!

As a newbie, now considering a move to the UAE, this has been a great site.

Thanks

Tony
TonyK
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Oct 01, 2008
Good article. Very informative. Can you also give a picture of expenses for a bachelor who shares accommodation & transportation provided by company.
viswa_111
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Oct 01, 2008
Hi there, some of the expenses above you could simply “drag and drop” into your own personal budget, whereas others you may have to extrapolate the figures a little to get to a reasonable representation.

If you have a look through the following link, to the Gulf News Classifieds section you’ll be able to fill in some more of the blanks, such as finding a approximate price for shared accommodation or even a second-hand vehicle (just a note on that, I’m certain I read somewhere that the UAE was banning vehicles from being registered after they are 10 years old, so don’t get caught buying a second-hand 9 year vehicle!).

http://www.gnads4u.com/search.html?t=properties&pub=D


The price of accommodation (shared or otherwise) will depend entirely on where you are going to be staying. You don’t specify if they will be providing a vehicle or simply be providing transport to and from work, there is a difference. In general companies who provide their staff with a lift to and from work prefer them to all stay in a similar area, for logistical reasons; in this case you will also be left to find your own way around town during your “off-time” – which means public transport or taxis.
If you will be getting the use of a vehicle this does give you a little more freedom with regards to area to stay in and what time leave for and return from work. Make sure that the company is responsible for the annual licence fees, maintenance, fuel and service of the vehicle!

Shared accommodation is also determined by the number of people who will be sharing with you! Remember to factor at least a 15% annual increase in rental to your budget – whether you share or not, in addition to rental you will also be required to contribute proportionately to services such as electricity & water, domestic servants service and air-conditioning (if billed separately), etc.
dbxsoul
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Oct 10, 2008
Thanks for providing such a valuable & useful thread. I am considering a possible move to Dubai, having not worked in the Gulf since the 1970's.

Whilst used to expat life, this forum has helped to formulate a package that I would want to move to Dubai from Hong Kong.
SteveHK
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Oct 31, 2008
This information is very valuable to ppl who think to settle in dubai..
Thanks
jjm
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Hi there Sep 08, 2009
Livin in Dubai is much expensive but now days all rents are down so you may find many properties through any Dubai Property Portal.
Jolie
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Nov 14, 2009
Thank you sooo much soul.... This info is like rain in the desert....
I am into IT, have 3 to 4 yrs exp... in Website/ server / system and network administration. I have worked on MS exchange server, been a technical writer, done web development, network admin and at present a system admin.
But i some how dont find a path into UAE...
Can you suggest an option i should try to come in..
Whats the salary negotiable? etc.. sry if im asking too much..
alexmathew0705
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Nov 14, 2009
alexmathew0705 wrote:Thank you sooo much soul.... This info is like rain in the desert....
I am into IT, have 3 to 4 yrs exp... in Website/ server / system and network administration. I have worked on MS exchange server, been a technical writer, done web development, network admin and at present a system admin.
But i some how dont find a path into UAE...
Can you suggest an option i should try to come in..
Whats the salary negotiable? etc.. sry if im asking too much..


Hi there,
First off run a search on IT Jobs on this forum, there were a few previous postings (going back about a year) with regards to how the IT industry in Dubai works; much of the work is actually outsourced to India due to the cheaper costs for the companies (ie. labor rate, highly qualified staff, not having to pay visa and accommodation expenses etc.). Notwithstanding there is still an IT industry in Dubai. Much of it is centered on the "Knowledge Village" and "Media City" Free zones (which are actually in Dubai).

The easiest way to make contact with companies in these two zones, is to Google them and look up the company’s listed within each zone, then start canvassing them. Many have web pages as well, so check for online vacancies that may be advertised. I also posted a few month back a posting entitled (something like) "Favorite Job sites", these are agencies that I have run across that seem to be doing a fair job without trying to scam any one. There are a few links to IT placement agencies in Dubai.

Another alternative is to take a few weeks leave, get a visit visa and do some on-the-ground canvassing and intelligence gathering. The economic climate seems to be picking up or at least showing signs of recovery. Between now and February would be a good time to look for work, although expect to be offered a fairly low salary, at the moment it’s an "employers market" so they can basically cut the packages pack by half and still have a line of people at their door.

A contract in a Free zone would be best as you would be able to change jobs easier if something better came along, than being employed permanently in Dubai (under the UAE Labor Law).

Sorry, some of the figures in my original posting are a little dated as I haven't updated things in a while, but I would still give them about 90% accuracy.

Soul
dbxsoul
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Re: Cost of Living in Dubai Apr 14, 2010
The situation is not very optimistic. Some researchers are saying that jobless rate in Dubai could reach above 11%. This is according the definitions, state of recession, along with two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Deflation is knocking on the door and people should tighten the belts to get ready for a very dry summer....Jobs and consumers are hard to find nowadays :(
Francheska
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Re: Cost Of Living In Dubai May 10, 2010
what is a good area to live for category C/D ? and can I get tips on sites with apartments ?
I am an unemployeed worker whos looking for an OK job. My background is warehouse work and logestics
BobSupertramper
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Re: Cost of Living in Dubai May 11, 2010
Francheska wrote:The situation is not very optimistic. Some researchers are saying that jobless rate in Dubai could reach above 11%. This is according the definitions, state of recession, along with two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Deflation is knocking on the door and people should tighten the belts to get ready for a very dry summer....Jobs and consumers are hard to find nowadays :(


That would be 11% not considering the number of people who leave because they are jobless. Dubai is not really a city that you can remain in if you do not have a job.
dee7o
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