Cost of Living - Dubai

10th February 2021

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Known for its world-class lifestyle, ever-growing opportunities and amenities, Dubai is one of the most sought after destinations to relocate and invest in property. Being 28% cheaper than New York and ranked as the 23rd most expensive city in the world in 2020, for the cost of living, the majority of Dubai is relatively good value for money in comparison to other major cities. From young professionals to families and couples, there is no denying that Dubai is a sought after location, and one of the most popular cities in the UAE, being 4% cheaper than Abu Dhabi.

Situated in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is a thriving centre of economic growth and culture, but before making the move one of the key factors that people want to know is the cost of living. With the common misconception being that Dubai is only for those who desire an exclusive luxurious lifestyle, Dubai has amenities and options for whatever lifestyle you require. With one of the main pull factors being that Dubai does not charge VAT on property or income, allowing people to have a lot more disposable income than they may be used to.

With the cost of living all depending on what type of lifestyle you require, we will be covering the main areas of expenses as well as showing you how they can vary for each individual.

Types of expenses we will be covering:

  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Schooling
  • Entertainment
  • Healthcare


When it comes to prioritising your expenses, one of the most important things to put first is housing. The property market in Dubai is ever-expanding and offers so much variety, from exclusive penthouses in the Dubai Skyline to spacious villas and townhouses on the outskirts, there are plenty of properties available to match your budget.

As well as housing being an important factor in your cost of living, the area where you choose to live is also just as important. Areas such as Dubai Marina, Business Bay and Palm Jumeirah have high property costs which then usually leads to higher costs of living as a result of the desirability of the area. Although there are areas such as Jumeirah village circle, Dubai sports city and Dubai Silicon oasis, offering lower property costs and more budget-friendly amenities nearby.


With the famous Dubai skyline home to plenty of apartments and penthouses, it is no surprise that the majority of people that work in the city choose to reside in a property close to work. Not only does this save transportation costs in the terms of not having to own a car and pay for the petrol, but it also allows you to make the most of Dubai's public transport system, with a monthly pass covering all city zones costing around AED 350. Taxis are also a widely popular mode of transport in Dubai as they are comparatively cheaper to most taxis in other cities around the world.

If you are planning on living further out of the city then it is recommended that you have a car as public transport is not so easy to access further out of the centre, although this may increase your monthly expenditure the petrol prices in the UAE are much cheaper in comparison to other parts of the world, with the price of 1 litre of petrol usually ranging from AED 2.16 TO 2.04 (£0.43-0.41).


One of the most important factors that young families or couples need to think about is school fees. With 90% of the education in Dubai provided by private schools, there are public schools available. Although you do have a choice of schools to enrol your children in private schools can be quite expensive, costing between AED 4,000 - 9,500 depending on what age your child is.

With many schools following the British education system, there are no worries that your child will miss out, from GCSE's to A-levels many of the international schools on offer provide an education second to none with the majority of pupils progressing to highly regarded Universities. There is also a local requirement to study Arabic and Islamic studies and this is also taken into an account in international schools, with only the basic understanding required.

Whilst British and American schools usually have the highest fees, there are also options for affordable schools in Dubai that offer an excellent standard of education at an affordable rate.

List of Outstanding Schools:


Surrounded by beautiful man-made beaches, Dubai offers some of the world's greatest amenities. Being home to the world's tallest building and largest shopping mall there are amenities for whatever lifestyle you require.

With the affluent Dubai Marina offering everything from Al Fresco dining to luxury fashion brands, the marina is one of the most popular areas of Dubai. With fine dining restaurants, shopping centres, cinemas and world-famous attractions at your disposal, those who are planning to relocate to Dubai are reminded to keep in mind the expenses for leisure activities and necessities for during the week and on more so on weekends. Although there are plenty of amenities on offer without a price tag such as the free public beaches and parks.


With medical and health insurance being mandatory for all residents in the UAE it is essential that you take this into an account when moving, although if you are a working professional in Dubai your health care insurance is usually covered by your company and it is more common than not that your company will offer to pay for your families health care insurance as well.

If this is not the case, then the reasonable comprehensive medical insurance plan for a family of four can be around 17,000 AED or around 10,000 AED for an individual.


According to Numbeo the cost of living in the UAE is 12.42% lower than that of in the UK, although rent in the United Arab Emirates is on average 30.2% higher than in the United Kingdom. With all of the factors into account, the average cost of living in Dubai completely depends on the lifestyle you want to live and the choices you make. If you require a more in-depth look at individual prices of things such as groceries and utilities Numbeo will be able to give you greater insight on individual items.

If you think the move to Dubai is for you, take a look at our exclusive Dubai portfolio and gain an insight into what property type is best for you. If you need any help with your property search or are looking for more insight to establish your requirements, don't hesitate to get in touch with Propuno today!

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