How Much Does Living In Dubai Cost? Check Out These 7 Important Factors


When we think of Dubai, the things that come into our minds are the stretch of world-class infrastructures and a megacity of the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is famously known for its architectural landmarks, attractive tourist destinations, and considered as the land of opportunity for many. Its pleasant hot weather, crystal clear beaches, and thriving economy attracted millions of expats from across the world.

The city has a lot to offer, from a lifestyle you prefer, up to working on your dream job. However, if you plan to live and work in Dubai, there are several priorities you need to ask yourself like, How much does it cost to live in Dubai? How much salary do I need to earn to sustain a lifestyle I want? With the implementation of VAT in the UAE, is it still worth it to live and work in Dubai?

Also Read: How Will VAT Affect The UAE Real Estate Sector?

Well, the answer is just a simple “It depends. It depends on how you want to live your life in Dubai, your flow of expenses, and the amount of income - salary you’ll get. In order to help you decide whether moving to Dubai is a good idea or not, we’ve pointed out some of the important factors that can influence the cost of living in Dubai.

The cost of living in Dubai will depend on these factors:

Properties for Rent in Dubai

Rent in Dubai may add a big chunk of your expenses. However, if you can properly identify your home type requirements then rent cannot be a problem. Like elsewhere in the world, the price of home rental in Dubai will vary depending on which area you live in and size of house you prefer. There are plenty of house for rent in Dubai, you can choose from townhouses, villas, and apartments whichever type of home fits your requirements and budget.

In areas such as Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Downtown Dubai, and Business Bay where large dense of expats are found, a high property rental turnout is expected.

Here is the estimated price range of rental costs in 2018 for the following areas mentioned above:

Locations Studio Apartment (Annual Rent)

1-Bed Apartment
(Annual Rent)

2-Bed Apartment
(Annual Rent)
3-Bed Apartment
(Annual Rent)
Dubai Marina             AED 50k - 75k AED 70k - 110k AED 120k -  160k AED 179k - 219k
JLT AED 55k - 67k AED 75k - 94k AED 107k - 131k AED 131k - 160k
Downtown Dubai             AED 69k - 85K 

AED 100k - 122k

AED 146k - 178k   AED 223k - 273k       
Business Bay AED 62k - 76k AED 79k - 97k AED 114k - 140k                  AED 152k - 186k 


When renting a property, keep in mind that it is recommended to spend not more than 30% of your monthly earnings. For more information see our Dubai Rental Index page.

Also read: 9 Experts Shared Their Ultimate Tips For Buying & Renting A Property In Dubai

Service and Utility Fees

Aside from your monthly house rent, you should also take note of home service, utility, and community fees. One of which is the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), it require a refundable deposit when renting a property in Dubai.

The deposit amounts are as follow:

For Apartment

AED 1000 - Refundable deposit
AED 110 - Non-refundable connection fee

For Villa

AED 2000 - Refundable Deposit
AED 110 - Non-refundable connection fee

For 5-Bedroom Villa (Large Villa)

AED 2000 - Refundable Deposit
AED 210 - Non-refundable connection fee


Depending on the size of your home and personal consumption, monthly utility charges can range from AED 1,200 to AED 5,000. Expect a higher DEWA bill during summer months from May to August.

In addition, having an internet at home is also important these days.You can check Du and Etisalat for home internet packages.

The starting internet packages are as follow:


AED 299 + 5% VAT per month for 10 Mbps speed


AED 379 + 5% VAT per month for 20 Mbps speed
One-time activation fee: AED 200


Furthermore, renting a property can also cost you service and community fees. Talk to your landlord and identify the amount of this charges so you can prepare your expenses ahead.

Also Read: Renting in Dubai? First Be Aware Of These Costs

Transportation in Dubai

Living in Dubai offers you numerous transportation options, there are buses, the Dubai Metro  and tram, Uber, Careem, taxis, water taxis, and the upcoming flying taxis as well as private cars. You can take advantage of one these depending on your requirements and from which location do you live.

You have to identify if you need a car. You might need it for work or if you’re living with your family in Dubai, then having a car is a wise option. If purchasing a car is in the horizon, numerous car financing options are available. You can choose from a wide selection of vehicles - second hand or brand new, depending on the budget you have.

On the other hand, if you opt for a car rental, the average rent for small size car, such as Toyota Yaris will cost you roughly AED 1,500 monthly and an additional AED 400 for petrol. You can easily buy or rent a car in Dubai.

If public transportation works for you, Dubai Metro and tram will instantly take you across the city in just AED 3 to 7.50 for a regular ride. Also, taxis are widely available in Dubai 24/7, you can book or simply hail them on the street with a minimum fare of AED 12. Furthermore, if you plan to commute outside Dubai, taking an RTA bus is also easy, a one-way trip going to Abu Dhabi is AED 25 and Sharjah bound will cost you AED 10 only.

Groceries Shopping in Dubai

Compared to other key cities like London and New York, some grocery items in Dubai are cheaper. Since Dubai is home to several nationalities, you can easily find a variety of foods available in grocery stores across the city. Normally, prices of imported goods are higher compared to local products. On an average, families of four in Dubai will have grocery bills around AED 1200 to AED 1500 per month.

The value of your expenses will depend on your food spending. If you prefer to cook and eat at home most of the time, then food budget will be way lower than if you frequently eat out or dine in at a restaurant on the weekend. Furthermore, you can buy food at these grocery stores including Carrefour, Geant, Spinneys, Waitrose, and LuLu Supermarket just to name a few.

To put the difference in price, we’ve come up with a few estimated price comparisons from a list of groceries in Dubai, London, and New York.

Grocery Items

Price in Dubai
(In AED)

Price in London
(In AED)

Price in New York
(In AED)

2 Litres of Milk

AED 10 AED 4.62 AED 18

1 Loaf Brown Bread

AED 5 AED 2.36 AED 11

1kg Chicken Breast

AED 34 AED 56.54 AED 48

1kg Ground Beef

AED 37 AED 52.45 AED 37

1kg White Fish

AED 21 AED 94.41 AED 81


* All prices are subject to change based on currency fluctuation and economic circumstances.

Eating Out and Socialising in Dubai

You will not run out of things to do in Dubai and eat out with friends and family is one of the most common forms of leisure activities for expats these days. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes across the city, you can choose from a variety of cuisines as well as international, and local food chains from affordable up to high-end restaurants.

Depending on your choice, a regular restaurant can cost you AED 10 to AED 50 for a set of a meal, mostly you can find this in areas like Bur Dubai, Deira, Karama, and Satwa. On the other hand, if you prefer posh dine-in, in areas such as Downtown Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai Festival City, and City Walk just to name a few, the price range will be way up to AED 80 for a dish to AED 450 for a set meal.

Schooling in Dubai

If you’re moving to Dubai with family, you will also have to consider some schools for your kids. There are a lot of schools in Dubai including daycare, nurseries, primary schools, and private schools that offer many curriculums from US, UK, and Europe catering to a large population of expats in Dubai.

Primary education costs roughly between AED 20,000 to AED 28,000 in schools with western-based curriculums. Furthermore, if you plan to send your children in an outstanding school in Dubai, it is advisable to check their Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) rating.

KHDA is an agency in Dubai that conducts school inspections and identify its overall standing. In the 2018 KHDA inspection, the Dubai College, Gems Dubai American Academy, Kings School in Dubai, and Repton School are some of the outstanding rated schools in Dubai.

The cost of schooling in Dubai is around AED 40,000 to AED 90,000 per school year. You can browse online for the list of popular schools in Dubai as well as their tuition fees and curriculums.

Home, Medical, and Car Insurance

Having an insurance in Dubai is also a big deal, there are plenty of companies that offer attractive insurance packages fit for your home, medical or for a vehicle. Mostly, a home insurance package starting from AED 250 can cover all your home content up to AED 50,000. Also, the coverage amount for a home insurance can also increase depending on your contribution. Furthermore, car insurance usually costs 4 - 7% of the value of the car.

Healthcare insurance in Dubai is very important as some medications and prescriptions are way more expensive if you do not have insurance. If you’re employed in Dubai, the company will provide the healthcare insurance for its employees. However, some companies will allow you to choose your own medical insurer and offer set amount as a contribution while others may have group scheme for their employees.

Take note that healthcare insurance in Dubai comes in different ranges of policy and of course, these healthcare plans come with different price tags.

Overall, the cost of living in Dubai will depend on your standard of living. These factors written above can definitely influence your expenses while you’re in Dubai. It is better to become aware of these expenses and access if it is suitable for the value of income you have.

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