Dubai City Information Site

Living in Dubai Is Not Cheap

But There Are Ways to Spend Less

Hi, Sunil here to talk about living in Dubai…

If you have considered the idea before, this discussion will definitely help shed some more light on the topic.

The cost of living seems to be shooting up with no end in sight.

As a result, most of us are already feeling the pinch these days.

I am talking from a global perspective in general.

Dubai residents are feeling a harder pinch due to sky-rocketing rental costs in Dubai.

In any economy, the rental costs are often the main burden. In Dubai, rental rates just keep popping up all the way and the cost of essential goods are not that far behind either. As a result, living in Dubai has become an expensive option for many, one that is bound to affect your lifestyle.

Inflation is a recurring problem in Dubai, one whose impact you must have already felt if you are there or frequently visit. As I am writing this, the cost of living in Dubai is steadily going up.

Even though the rental costs have a cap on them, the landlords have been increasing the rates as they please, with the end result that most of us are caught flat-footed when the costs becomes astronomical. It is no wonder that Dubai is considered as one of the most expensive cities to live in.

The rent of an average one-bedroom apartment generally costs something like $700 a month but this rent can vary depending on the locality and the facilities provided. When it comes to rent, it is always a good idea to negotiate a rental contract with the owner for as long as possible. In this way, you can prevent the owner from increasing the rent whenever he feels like it.

Rent costs can vary but on the whole, they have been showing an upward trend of late. With the help of the rental contract, you need not worry about rental costs turning into a major headache. Also, with big apartments as well as villas, the rent is based on a rental contract and it generally varies between $1200 and $1500.

You will have to deal with a lot more than just high rental when you are living in Dubai. For example, did you know that a meal by a roadside restaurant will set you back by at least $5 while a meal in a proper, decent one will cost you at least $15. With restaurants charging so much it is no wonder that most of us have taken to cooking our own food, with desired and undesired results, the later more often than not.

I do not know about you, but even my dog will not touch my cooking. So if you are planning to cut down the costs by cooking your own food, there are two things you would need to do. Make sure that you get the right appliances as well as a good cookbook. For purchasing such appliances, avoid malls and try some of the other local shops like the Dragon market for throwaway prices.

Cooking your own food should set you back by at least $700 per month, for that is what the groceries cost on the average for a couple. Well, I did say that the costs were high in Dubai so if you were expecting the groceries to cost less than that, sorry.

There are things that you can do to curtail the cost even further, you must talk to your employer about the possibility of a rental allowance as that will make you breathe a little easier. Get a rental contract and avoid the possibility of a lightening raise in rent.

If you have children, you may want to consider the Asian schools for their education, as they are cheaper as well as better than the American run ones in many ways. Schooling allowance for your kids can also be negotiated with your employer so make sure you ask. These are just some of the things that you can do to make your living here more pleasant than worrisome.

The cost of fuel is naturally cheaper (not by much though you’d be surprised) here for all the obvious reasons; I guess that is one of the perks of living here in Dubai. A bottle of mineral water actually costs more than fuel, which is kind of ironic since it is the high cost of fuel that seems to be the root cost of inflation elsewhere else.

Living in Dubai can be made easy by acting on some of the tips posted above and with lowered costs you may not have to cook your own food. Now that is what I call an incentive!

Living in Dubai - 2008 Update

Rents in Dubai have gone up over 70% since 2006. The government is encouraging property ownership ever since they allowed expatriates to invest in Dubai real estate in 2006.

The problem is that property values in Dubai have gone up so much that it is no longer as affordable to buy property as it was when the law was first passed in 2006. Some one bedroom condos are selling for over a million dollars in areas where expats can buy (“freehold” zones).

The numbers mentioned above are outdated as of when this discussion was written. Take the example of renting homes and villas above. It states that you can get by with $1,500 per month at most. This no longer holds true. Try doubling that to $3,000? Yes, it costs over Dhs. 10,000 for a villa that houses a 4-5 person family.

It’s an interesting situation right now in Dubai. On one hand you have rental rates skyrocketing at the point of the “unreasonable” and on the other hand you have property values doing the same in a big bubble.

So the government is trying to encourage investment in real estate, but people can’t afford to buy. They can’t afford to rent either. If prices do not come to correction I am afraid Dubai will be driving out many residents.

But then again, maybe these are the same residents Dubai doesn’t care about. Dubai wants the best or the best, including the best ones with the biggest bank balances that will spend and contribute to the Dubai economy.

2012 Update: Rents have normalized due to economic conditions. There is more supply of housing than there is demand, resulting in downward pressure on price.

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