Yes the rents are high, and yes the grocery shopping bill is always a shock, but contrary to what you may think about living in Dubai, it is not the most expensive city to live in.
Despite the fact that most Dubai residents can be found complaining about rent prices on a regular basis, we don’t actually have it that bad. According to Savills latest Live/Work Index, which measures the combined cost of residential and office rental per person per year across leading world class cities, the cost of accommodating an employee in London and New York is almost double that of Dubai.
According to the report Dubai’s total annual cost per employee of living and working accommodation is Dhs198,000, a decrease of seven per cent since December.
In New York – which is listed as the most expensive city with Hong Kong second and London third – the cost is Dhs418,703, a rise of two per cent. Hong Kong comes in at Dhs370,868.
The US city replaces London, which was no longer the most expensive city due to Brexit. The live-work accommodation costs came in at Dhs367,773.
To put the difference in price into perspective, we’ve gone ahead and carried out a few price comparisons – from a (simple) list of groceries, to petrol prices and rent. Here’s how living in Dubai compares (cost-wise) to living in London or New York.
With an abundance of delicious five-star restaurants and affordable street foods, we know that a weekly shop may be smaller than we have detailed but for the sake of comparison we’ve gone for the basics. Here is the difference in spending on a monthly shop in Dubai vs New York and London.
A kilo of bananas – Dhs6.50
A kilo of apples – Dhs16
Two litres of milk – Dhs10
15 eggs – Dhs14
Instant coffee – Dhs12
A kilo of rice – Dhs14
12 bottles of water – Dhs9
Six rolls of toilet paper – Dhs14
Two cans of chopped tomatoes – Dhs9
A kilo of iceberg lettuce – Dhs16
A kilo of chicken breasts Dhs34
A kilo of white fish – Dhs21
One packet of unsalted butter – Dhs10
A loaf of brown bread – Dhs5
A kilo of ground beef – Dhs37
Monthly cost: Dhs910
A kilo of bananas – Dhs8
A kilo of apples– Dhs20
Two litres of milk – Dhs18
15 eggs – Dhs14
Instant coffee – Dhs37
A kilo of rice – Dhs18
12 bottles of water – Dhs15
Six rolls of toilet paper – Dhs22
Two cans of chopped tomatoes – Dhs14
A kilo of iceberg lettuce – Dhs14
A kilo of chicken breasts – Dhs48
A kilo of white fish – Dhs81
One packet of unsalted butter – Dhs13
A loaf brown bread – Dhs11
A kilo of ground beef – Dhs37
Monthly cost: Dhs1,480
A kilo of bananas – Dhs3.57
A kilo of apples –Dhs9.7
Two litres of milk –Dhs4.62
15 eggs –Dhs14.16
Instant coffee –Dhs8.97
A kilo of rice –Dhs10.49
12 bottles of water –Dhs15.73
Six rolls of toilet paper –Dhs15.73
Two cans of chopped tomatoes –Dhs4.20
A kilo of iceberg lettuce –Dhs26.22
A kilo of chicken breasts –Dhs56.54
A kilo of white fish –Dhs94.41
One packet of unsalted butter –Dhs8.65
A loaf of brown bread –Dhs2.36
A kilo of ground beef –Dhs52.45
Monthly cost: Dhs1,311
Most of us know how cheap petrol is in Dubai – the cost of a taxi ride is as cheap as a bus ride in the UK. That’s what you get for living in a country that’s one of the world’s biggest oil producers. Until recently, petrol prices were heavily subsidised by the government, and the price is now on the up. It’s nothing to get too upset about though, as you can see below, we’re still far cheaper than our Western counterparts.
Dhs5.45 per litre
Dhs7.68 per litre
Dhs1.92 per litre
Rent-wise, there’s quite the difference. You’ll get similar square footage, sure. Similar amenities though? Afraid not. We compared two-bedroom flats in the popular areas in each of the three cities and as you can see from the photos below, the Downtown Dubai apartment is the only one with a seriously good view. Oh, and it’s the only one that comes with a pool, gym…
Soho, London – Dhs164,000 per year
It gets you: 776 sq ft / 2 bed / 2 bath / communal gardens / 24h concierge
Photos: Kay & Co
Downtown Dubai – Dhs150,000 per year
It gets you: 1,356 sq ft / 2 bed / 3 bath / balcony / swimming pool / private courtyards / gym / security
Photos: Elysian Real Estate
Upper East Side, New York – Dhs220,156 per year
It gets you: 1,025 sq ft / 2 bed / 2 bath / 24h concierge
Photos: Corcoran Group Real Estate
So there you have it. As much as we all enjoy a good grumble, there’s no denying that Dubai on the whole, really isn’t that bad. Sure, the roads are a bit wacky, and the rent could be a little lower, but compared to our Western friends we’ve got it pretty good. No wonder it’s one of the happiest places in the world to live.