Monday, October 22, 2007

Dubai expensive?

I've talked about this before - expats from UK & Europe in particular whingeing about Dubai being expensive.

Just going through bits & pieces from our holiday has prompted me to revisit the subject.

For example in London the single journey tube fare from Waterloo to Kings Cross, a short distance of only six stations, was £4 each. Crowded, uncomfortable, dragging luggage up & down stairs, no air-conditioning, and a short journey was Dh30 each.

In a little local Thai restaurant in a small country town the standard dishes were between £6 and £8 each, thats Dh45 to Dh60 per dish. Here we pay around Dh25.

Real estate? My brother recently bought a very small end-of-terrace bungalow in a town about 30 miles from London. Not in the city, it's worth stressing, but 30 miles away in a country town.

One bathroom, two bedrooms, one reception room (as they call them in the UK). The rooms are tiny - for example the master bedroom is 13ft6in x 10ft (4.16 x 3.12 metres). The one and only living room is 13ft x 13 ft. Here are the real estate agent's photos of it:

He paid Dh1,450,000 and had to spend Dh225,000 on necessary repairs and renovations. Total cost Dh1.7 million. And of course he had to use after-tax salary to pay for it, so in Dubai terms you could add about 25 percent.

Here's a photo of it now. Not much for the money is it:

I know rents are high in Dubai, and rising unacceptably, but employers still very often, if not usually, provide accommodation or an allowance to European expats. And salary is tax free, meaning an advantage of somewhere in the region of 25 to 40 percent over European taxed salaries.

All the other items such as food, travel, clothing, eating out, cars, fuel - if you compare like with like, which most of the whingers don't - are much cheaper in Dubai.

I have examples from other European countries we visited, which will be worth posting here when I've sorted it all out.


i*maginate said...

All in all is not really more expensive but as for the tax-free salary, it doesn't make much of a difference if the pay is low to begin with. Some European expats I know share accomm and drive pretty basic cars.

There are some things which are not necessarily *more expensive* than in London, but on a par, which they really shouldn't be! Agreed the takeaway shops are all approx Dhs. 25 for a meal, but what about the 5* restaurants here - they are hardly of the same calibre as 5* restaurants in London, and charge the same, often accompanied by service of an arguable nature.

Clothing is more or less the same price - most of the UK chains charge exactly the same although it's tax free.

Home-help from GBP 2 - 5 ph not bad...calling out a plumber/electrician is much more economical in Dubai.

grace said...

The house looks like my aunt's house in Peterborough. Given the price, it's very expensive! But I would love to own a house with a backyard for the same price as an apartment here in Dubai.

Keefieboy said...

High-speed uncensored internet connection: GBP 10/month. Global (except to UAE) VOIP calls via Skype: free. In Madrid, fabulous art collections, statues, beautiful architecture: FREE* (*museum entry is free at weekends). In Madrid, Metro/bus trip: 60 cents.

faiq said...

the way dubai going,inflation here is in double digit agreed its tax free but loosing its charm which is quality of life and cheaper than west.

Seabee said...

i*maginate, why shouldn't some things be on a par?

Two points on eating out. The cost-whingers don't compare same with same. For example, very few eat in 5-star hotel restaurants in their own country, but they do here and then complain that "it's more expensive than at home." In fact many expats come from towns that don't even have a 5-star hotel in them!

Just look at some of the prices in London 5-star hotel restaurants: Jumeirah Carlton Towers' Rib Room - main courses Dh135 to Dh235 and vegetables are Dh26 each. You want potatoes, that's Dh26 extra, you want carrots, that's another Dh26 extra, etc.
Hyatt Regency is about the same, and again every vegetable you want is Dh26 extra. At the Dorchester Grill the main courses are from Dh210 to Dh285. Coffee is Dh37.

Grace, a larger 2-bedroom apartment with two extra bathrooms in Dubai Marina, with a small private garden set in the larger common-area gardens for Dh1.4 million. In the middle of all the facilities & amenities Dubai now offers. My bro's house is in a town with nothing but a few shops and a couple of pubs.
Keefieboy, good to still have you around :-)
I agree of course, some things are cheaper in some cities - Paris Metro is a standard Euro 1.50 for any trip for example - but comparing apples with apples over a 'basket' of stuff we need every day, I still think western European expats should be more realistic about comparable costs.

Anonymous said...

We're only paing more here because of the lack of competition. Spinney's are ripping steak lovers off with 65Dhs a kilo from Kiwi beef ribeye. Go to Carefour and for 40Dhs you get the world's best- Argentinian Beef Ribeye....

Seabee said...

anon, you think we're being ripped off here? See what I mean about comparitive prices - the NZ beef is more expensive in New Zealand than in Dubai! Today in NZ, Porterhouse steak is Dh73 a kilo, Fillet steak is Dh84 and even Rump steak is Dh45.

Argentinian is cheaper because it's cheaper, the same as Indian or Brazilain meat is cheaper than Australian or NZ meat.

Zhanna said...

The real estate prices in Dubai are inexpensive compared to similar trading hubs such as London, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong. For instance, these ‘global’ cities’ average office space prices are more than triple the price of Dubai. Even though prices for Dubai property are still cheaper, they are starting to catch up.
Although the rates are still low, the Palm, Jumeirah villas have doubled. These villas will not even be completed for two years and they are in such high demand.

Real Estate Flyers said...

Dubai is a world class city and one of the fastest growing economy of the world.If someone want to live there then he will have to pay for it.