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Guide to Cost of Living Dubai vs UK

Dubai is a city known for its luxury shopping, stunning architecture, and vibrant nightlife. The rich culture of this Middle Eastern city with exciting festivals and mouth-watering delicacies is also a strong pull factor for expats looking to relocate. Best of all, the cost of living in Dubai is considerably lower than in the UK. Keep reading to discover the latest statistics on two of the world’s leading cities – Dubai and London.

Housing in Dubai vs the UK

When analysing the cost of living in Dubai, housing is a top factor. Both London and Dubai are major cities in the world so property prices are expected to be high. Surprisingly, however, Dubai’s skyscrapers and sea-front properties are considerably cheaper, allowing you to live in style without breaking your budget.

Renting a House

Choosing whether to rent or buy a house when relocating abroad can be quite a dilemma. Renting remains a popular choice across the world as it allows you to experience a new place without any commitment, so you can decide in time if you’d like to settle there long term.

Item Dubai (AED)* UK (GBP)*
1 Bedroom Apartment in City Centre £ 1,700 (7,850 AED) £ 2,200 (10,200 AED)
1 Bedroom Apartment outside the City Centre £ 1,000 (4,750 AED) £ 1,600 (7,500 AED)
3 Bedroom Apartment in City Centre £ 3,300  (15,200 AED) £ 4,200 (19,500 AED)
3 Bedroom Apartment outside City Centre £ 2,250 (10,500 AED) £ 2,800 (13,000 AED)
Aerial view of Dubai coastline

Buying a House

If you want to put down roots in Dubai, you must first evaluate your living expenses before setting expectations. The region you choose will influence real estate prices considerably, so it’s best to consult with an agency before you make a choice.

Item (Price per square metre) Dubai (AED)* UK (GBP)*
Apartment in City-Centre £ 4,200 (19,400 AED) £ 13,800 (64,000 AED)
Apartment outside City-Centre £2,300 (19,700 AED) £ 7,600 (35,200 AED)

Utility Bills

Whether you’re moving abroad or somewhere local, utility bills can quickly add up if you don’t budget adequately for them. To ensure you don’t overspend on bills whilst settling in, it’s important to have at least a rough idea of how much your monthly utilities cost.

Item Dubai (AED)* UK (GBP)*
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment £ 165 (760 AED) £ 280 (1,300 AED)
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data £ 50 (220 AED) £ 15 (70 AED)
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) £ 75 (350 AED) £ 30 (145 AED)
Men leading camels over a white sand beach in front of Dubai’s skyscrapers

Food Prices in Dubai vs the UK 

In Dubai, fruits and vegetables are either grown on local farms or imported from nearby countries such as Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Owing to Britain’s climate and its distance from the Middle East, imported fruits tend to be comparatively more expensive here. When it comes to meat, beef, and lamb are the commonly found options as pork isn’t consumed due to religious reasons.

Grocery Prices

While groceries may seem like a minor cost, it’s best to consider your day-to-day expenses and broader monthly expenditures when you’re thinking about moving abroad. The price of daily grocery shopping is quite similar between the UK and Dubai, so you shouldn’t adjust your grocery budget significantly as you settle into your new home.

Item Dubai (AED)* UK (GBP)*
Milk (regular), (1 litre) £ 1.65 (7.60 AED) £ 1 (6 AED)
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) £ 1.30 (6 AED) £ 1.50 (7 AED)
White Rice, (1kg) £ 1.70 (8 AED) £ 2 (9 AED)
12 Eggs £ 2.50 (11.50 AED) £ 3 (15.50 AED)
Local Cheese (1kg) £ 8.50 (40.50 AED) £ 7.50 (35 AED)
Chicken Fillets (1kg) £ 6.50  (30 AED) £ 7.50 (35 AED)
Round Beef (1kg) £7.50 (35.50 AED) £ 12 (55 AED)
Apples (1kg) £ 8.50  (2 AED) £ 2.50 (11 AED)
Banana (1kg) £ 1.50 (7 AED) £ 1 (6 AED)
Potato (1kg) £ 0.80 (4 AED) £ 1 (5.50 AED)
Onion (1kg) £ 0.80 (4 AED) £ 1 (5.50 AED)


Dining out is considerably cheaper in Dubai compared to London. There are a lot of budget-friendly places, and several food chains offering combo meals. Alcohol prices tend to be slightly cheaper in Dubai, although you will need a drinking licence (which can be obtained from a cashier) to buy alcoholic drinks. 

Item Dubai (AED)* UK (GBP)*
3-course Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant £ 65 (300 AED) £ 80 (370 AED)
McDonald’s McMeal (or Equivalent) £ 35 (7 AED) £ 8 (47 AED)
Beer (0.33 litre bottle) £ 48 (10 AED) £ 6.50 (30 AED)
Cappuccino (regular) £ 5 (20 AED) £ 3.60 (17 AED)
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle) £ 1 (4 AED) £ 2 (9 AED)
Water (0.33 litre bottle) £ 0.50 (2.50 AED) £ 1.50 (7.50 AED)
Dubai cityscape at night

Transportation Costs in Dubai vs the UK

Both London and Dubai are cities with high living standards, meaning daily commute costs are an important figure in the cost of living analysis. The UAE’s oil reserves, however, are the sixth largest in the world, making petrol prices considerably cheaper in Dubai. The city’s public transport is also cheaper than London. 

Item Dubai (AED)* UK (GBP)*
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) £ 1.35 (6.25 AED) £ 3 (13 AED)
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) £ 65 (300 AED) £ 200 ( 925 AED)
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) £ 2.50 (12 AED) £ 4 (18.50 AED)
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) £0.65 (3 AED) £ 2 (9 AED)
Gasoline (1 litre) £0.65 (3 AED) £ 1.50 (7 AED)
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) £ 32,400 (150,000 AED) £ 26,300 (121,500 AED)
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) £ 18,000 (83,000 AED) £ 26,250 (121,500 $)

Childcare Costs 

If you’re moving to Dubai with kids, you need to add childcare costs to your monthly budget. Dubai is home to some of the best institutions in the world, and they’re also more affordable than the UK. 

Item Dubai (AED)* UK (GBP)*
Full Day at Private Preschool (Monthly) £ 560 (2,600 AED) £ 1,850 (8,500 AED)
International Primary School (Yearly) £ 11,750 (54,300 AED) £ 20,050 (93,000 AED)

Recreation Costs 

When creating a cost of living analysis, recreation should be as important as bills and basic living costs. Dubai’s recreational opportunities are undoubtedly fantastic, although they also tend to be slightly more expensive than the UK.

Item Dubai (AED)* UK (GBP)*
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult £ 70 (330 AED) £ 50 (225 AED)
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) £ 40 (180 AED) £ 13 (60 AED)
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat £ 10 (50 AED) £ 15 (70 AED)
Smiling businesswoman talking on a cell phone in dubai

On average, Dubai is 13% less expensive than the UK. This difference is significant, especially when you take into account the fact that London and Dubai are two of the world’s leading cities. The statistics are encouraging for anyone looking to move to Dubai at the moment.


Whether you’d like more information on specific aspects of moving such as moving insurance or money transfers, get in touch with one of our experts for a consultation. And finally, if you haven’t already looked into employment in the UAE, our guide has a lot of useful information. 

(*All prices are approx. as of March 2024)

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