Dubai – More Expensive Than You Think


It is a well-known fact that living in Dubai is expensive, much more expensive than anywhere else in the Middle East.

This year’s Cost of Living survey, which was published a few months ago, stated that the city’s cost of living ranking has dropped compared to 2012. It claimed that Dubai fell with 2 positions. Moreover, in 2012, its lost a total of 16 spots. Despite that, Dubai’s consumer prices continue to challenge expats and businesses on daily basis.

A new research, for example, has discovered that office rents in Dubai are now the highest for the entire Middle East region. Moreover, they are among the most expensive in the world. According to CBRE, the emirate ranks 23rd on the globe when it comes to office prices. Renting a Grade A office in the city is said to cost more than $90 per square foot. In comparison, the world’s priciest office space, West End in London, is estimated at nearly $260 a square foot. That may seem like a great difference. However, it should be noted that unlike Dubai, West End is just one district in London. In contrast, office rental prices in Dubai do not offer much choice when it comes to price diversity. The Chinese city’s Central Business District is also included in this ranking. Office costs there are estimated at $189.67 that place the area on the fourth positions. Nevertheless, we are again talking about a “business” district.

Office rents in New York are surprisingly close to those in Dubai. There they reach an average of a little over $120 per square foot. CBRE’s study, however, explained that the current elevated price is driven by the economic recovery in the US. Rentals in America have registered the fastest growth over the last one year. Again, that is hard to compare to Dubai’s office rental environment.

The Expo 2020 win is one of the main factors for the current office rents increase. It already affected residential prices, which are, by the way, expected to continue to rise in the coming years. Now the trend is expanding to yet another sector. Although the huge supply and the still sluggish demand do not match, prices continue to climb mercilessly.

However, Dubai’s property market is not the only sector with expensive price tags. Nearly every aspect of the life in the city is pricey. For instance, entertainments in the emirate is 2% more expensive than that in Tokyo. This is an interesting fact  given the Japanese city registered the highest cost of living for 2013. It is followed by Osaka, where housing prices are 97% cheaper than those in Dubai.

Dubai surpasses even New York, one of world’s fashion capitals, in clothing prices. Fashionistas will spend 21% more if they chose to shop in Dubai instead of the Big Apple. Luxury and branded items in Dubai are somewhere from 30% to 40% more expensive than in Europe.

Education is also extremely expensive in Dubai and it is ranked 4th most expensive in the world. Most of the private schools are more expensive than in the United Kingdom and the U.S. This fact is difficult to explain as the level of performance of Dubai students remains under international average.

If you think that Dubai is pricey only for expats, you will be wrong again. Just visiting the city can be a luxury not only for casual tourists, but also for business travelers. It is estimated that the average business stay in the emirate will cost you more than $455. That makes Dubai one of the most expensive cities for business travelers today.

From the outside, Dubai appears like an oasis in the middle of the desert. It offers plenty of entertainment, large variety of residential options, business opportunities, trendy items and stunning architectural miracles. However, all of that comes at good price – one of the highest in the world.


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