But isn’t rent in the UAE expensive?

But isn’t rent in the UAE expensive?

by John Richardson


This is probably the biggest concern and fear-factor most candidates have when considering a move to the UAE and it’s most definitely the one question that I’m guaranteed to be asked, every time.

Yes, it’s true, rent is going to be your biggest outgoing expense when living in either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, but then again, it probably is wherever in the world you live right now.

But, let’s strip it back a little and do some comparisons, as when you map it out, the rent prices here are no different to any other major city across the globe, in a lot of cases, it’s actually cheaper.

Now, I’ve based these comparisons on the average price for a one bedded apartment or condo, which would be around 800 sq.ft in size.

Firstly, we’ll start with Dubai, now the most desirable locations to live in Dubai are typically Dubai Marina or Palm Jumeirah. Both of these locations are central and easily connected to either a public-transport tram or metro and even water-taxis. For a one-bedroom apartment in either of these locations, it would now cost you between 45-75k AED (€10-17k / $12-20.5k) per year. Next up in Dubai, would be somewhere considered to be the out-skirts, slightly outside of the hustle and bustle, somewhere like Jumeriah Village Circle, or JVC as it’s more commonly known, a one-bed apartment here would likely set you back between 30 and 50k AED (€6.5-11k / $8-13.5k) per year.

If we then look at Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, a sea-view, one-bed apartment on Al Reem Island would cost between 50 and 65k AED (€11-15.5k / $13.5-17.5k) per year on average.

Now moving on to some of the other major cities and how they compare to this, let's begin with London. Now with London, it's only fair to compare both central and the outskirts, so firstly we'll look at a central location such as Chelsea Harbour, a one-bed apartment here could set you back over 105k AED (€25k / $28.5k) per year. For the outskirts, we'll consider Highbury, North London, an apartment here that would cost around 80k AED (€19k / $21.5k) per year to rent.

Next up we can consider Manhattan, New York, a one-bedroom apartment in an area such as Soho would likely cost in the region of 110k AED (€26.5k / $30k) per year.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands would be around 80-90k AED (€19-21.5k / $21.5-24.5k) per year. Toronto, Canada around 60-70k AED (€14.5-17k / $16.5-19k) per year. Berlin, Germany between 75 and 85k AED (€18-20.5k / $20.5-23k) per year and lastly Sydney, Australia, costing between 75 and 85k AED (€18-20.5k / $20.5-23k) per year.

The point of this article wasn't to say "hey, look, it's cheaper here, pack your bags!", because in some cases, it might not be, however, when you look at some of the prices in comparison to these other major cities, it isn't more expensive either... But there's also something to add here, as with nearly all apartments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, your apartment block will have its own swimming pool - perfect for kicking back and unwinding at the weekends, a gym, and in some cases, a spa. So, you could actually say that you get more for your money with an apartment in Dubai or Abu Dhabi...

Another option in the region, one which we see often with single candidates, or those who want to meet new people, is to apartment-share with prices starting from typically 35k AED (€6.5k / $8k) per year. For this, you'd typically have your own en-suite bedroom and share kitchen and lounge facilities in a well-maintained apartment block in a prime location.

Historically landlords in the UAE asked for rent payments to be made in one or two 'cheques', that are pre-dated when signing the tenancy agreement. However, nowadays landlords are more flexible than before, offering tenants the opportunity to pay for their rent in up to twelve payments. You can use the number of payments to either reduce your annual rent cost (fewer payments, lower cost) or suit your personal needs and spread your payments over the year.

Taking the above into consideration, along with the zero income-tax salaries, making the move to the UAE could put you in a great position to save for your future, or simply, to just enjoy life!

As mentioned above, the prices are based on an average cost of a one-bedroom apartment at a size of circa 800 sq.ft. Prices were identified from multiple sources, including; Property Finder, Rightmove, Zoopla, NY Times, Pararius, PadMapper, Nestpick &