What Is the Cost of Living in Abu Dhabi and How Much Does It Cost To Live Well?

As Middle Eastern economies grow, Abu Dhabi is becoming one of the world’s leading cities. Dubai is the most famous city in the United Arab Emirates, but Abu Dhabi is also becoming a haven for investors, tourists, and expatriates. Abu Dhabi is also only an hour and twenty minutes away from Dubai—so you can enjoy both cities equally.


However, Abu Dhabi has many advantages—such as excellent beaches, world-class sporting events, stunning mosques, tax-free living, incredible weather, and splendid shopping opportunities. But, how much does it cost to live well in Abu Dhabi? We’re about to tell you in this article!

The Local Currency 

The local currency is the United Arab Emirates Dirham. The government has pegged the United Arab Emirates Dirham to the U.S. dollar because of the nation’s reliance on the oil industry. As a result, the country experiences various financial advantages. 

Currently, 1 USD = AED 3.67, 1 GBP = AED 4.44, and 1 Euro = AED 3.83. These conversions will help you understand the living costs during this article.


The Average Abu Dhabi Salaries

If you haven’t already moved to Abu Dhabi—local wages will be a significant factor in your move. Firstly, Abu Dhabi is a tax-free place to live. Yes, that’s right: Abu Dhabi is tax-free. How good does that sound? Whether you live in the Far East or the Western Hemisphere, earning a tax-free salary is incredible for you and your family. The current average wage in Abu Dhabi—as of June 2022—is AED 98,000 per annum($26,680).


However, expatriates in skilled industries often earn considerably more. The average expatriate salary in Abu Dhabi is nearly AED 570,000 ($155,180)—which is the world’s sixth-highest expatriate salary. That’s six figures with no tax; that’ll surely help you with those living costs. 

What’s more, Dubai is only a short drive away. You can effortlessly work in Dubai and live in Abu Dhabi. Therefore, you can take advantage of Dubai’s excellent salaries too. 

The average highest-paid yearly salaries in Abu Dhabi include:

● Healthcare manager: AED 232,133 per year

● Systems analyst: AED 238,378 per year 

● Insurance underwriter: AED 243,152 per year

● Software developer: AED 244,989 per year

● Contract manager: AED 623,309 per year

● Finance manager: AED 549,481 per year 

● Operations manager: AED 566,010 per year 

● IT manager: AED 509,813 per year


1. Real Estate Expenses

Your biggest outgoings in Abu Dhabi will likely be your real estate expenses, so you must find the right option. Abu Dhabi is currently witnessing a post-pandemic boom as demand increases from international buyers in Europe. Many real estate agencies have noticed a 50% increase in demand in the first four months of 2022 alone. The average real estate costincreased by 1.5% in the 12 months to March 2022. 

As of March 2022, the average apartment price and villa priceis AED 10,904 and AED 8,850 per square metre. In addition, the average monthly rent of a one-bedroom in Abu Dhabi’s city centre is AED 8,924.85. The average monthly rent of a 1 bedroom apartment outside Abu Dhabi’s city centre is AED 6,211.50. 

However, if you can afford to spend more cash, the average monthly rent of a 3-bedroom apartment in Abu Dhabi’s city centre is AED 9,466.67. The average monthly rent of a 3-bedroom apartment AED 7,260.96 if you’re outside the city centre. 

Of course, you should always factor utility bills into your monthly budget. The main bills—such as cooling, water, and electricity in an 85m2 apartment—will cost on average AED 558.56 ($152). In addition, your internet bill, which is essential if you’re working remotely, is AED 385.48 per month on average. 

Contact us today If you need assistance looking for excellent real estate in Abu Dhabi.

2. Food and Drink Expenses

Before you move to any city, you must understand the food expenses. After all, food will be a prominent part of your living costs. The price of food varies in Abu Dhabi; it depends entirely on how much you want to spend. Due to Abu Dhabi’s vast investor and entrepreneur community, you can find luxurious and expensive restaurants. However, the local community eats well for considerably less. 

Here are some of the average prices for food and drink in Abu Dhabi:

● A meal at a cheap restaurant: AED 25.00 ($6.81)

● A meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant: AED 200.000 ($54.00)

● A standard Mcdonald’s meal: AED 30.00 ($8.71)

● A domestic beer (0.5 litres): AED 40.00 ($11.00)

● An imported beer (0.33 litres): AED 37.50 ($10.50)

● A normal glass of Coke/Pepsi: AED 3.32 ($1.00)

● Standard water (0.33 litres): AED 1.18 ($0.32)

So food costs aren’t as high as you might expect. Beer, however, is generally expensive in the United Arab Emirates. With that said, what about supermarket goods? Of course, the nation imports most of its goods due to the UAE’s desert terrain. However, does that make supermarket goods expensive? 

Not necessarily; here are some typical costs:

● Apples (1kg): AED 7.49 ($2.04)

● Orange (1kg): AED 5.84 ($1.59)

● Tomato (1kg): AED 4.90 ($1.33)

● Onions (1kg): AED 3.15 ($0.86)

● Lettuce (1kg): AED 4.62 ($1.26)

● Banana (1kg): AED 6.16 ($1.68)

● 1 litre of milk (1kg): AED 5.89 ($1.60)

● Chicken fillets (1kg): AED 28.87 ($7.86)

● Cheese (1kg): AED 33.43 ($9.12)

● Eggs (12): AED 10.54 ($1.60)

So goods may be slightly more expensive than some other nations due to import reasons, but it’s not significantly higher. However, if you earn a typical expatriate salary in Abu Dhabi, you can live a lavish lifestyle without paying extravagant food and drink prices. 

3. Transportation Expenses 

Transportation is an important cost if you’re not driving to work. Thankfully, Abu Dhabi’s public transport infrastructure is rapidly developing. But even then, the current system is excellent and doesn’t cost much at all. 

Here are some typical transport costs:

● A one-way ticket: AED 2.00 ($0.54)

● A monthly pass: AED 80.00 ($21.78)

● Taxi start (normal tariff): AED 12.00 ($3.27)

● Taxi 1km (normal tariff): AED 2.00 ($0.54)

● Taxi 1-hour Waiting (normal tariff): AED 22.50 ($5.99)

● Gasoline (1 litre): AED 3.09 ($0.83)

If you need public transport, you’ll be glad to know it’s affordable and accessible for everyone. 

4. Sports and Leisure Expenses 

When you move to Abu Dhabi, you’ll experience terrific weather all year round. Subsequently, you can always go swimming, enjoy a run, or take a walk along the beach. However, the summer months are scorching hot in the United Arab Emirates; therefore, you may need a gym membership. Abu Dhabi has various health clubs and CrossFit gyms to boost your fitness. 


In addition, Abu Dhabi has excellent cinema opportunities, including VOX Cinemas Abu Dhabi Mall and the National Cinema. 

Here are some typical leisure costs:

● A fitness club (monthly adult fee): AED 260 ($70)

● One hour on a tennis court: AED 120 ($32.67)

● A movie at the local cinema: AED 45 ($12.00)

Also, you can always take a short drive to Dubai and enjoy the incredible global sports and leisure there. 

5. Childcare Expenses

Abu Dhabi is an excellent place to raise a family, but how much will it cost your family to raise children? 

Here are some typical education costs:

● Preschool monthly costs for one child: AED 2,131 ($580)

● International primary school costs for one child per year: AED 36,940 ($10,000)

Parents should always research before choosing a school for their child. Education costs aren’t the cheapest in Abu Dhabi, so it’s essential to find a suitable option. It’s still possible to obtain an allowance into your salary package for your child’s education. Although they aren’t as common now—they’re still possible!

6. Healthcare Expenses

Are you worried about healthcare? You shouldn’t be. One of the most impressive benefits of living in the United Arab Emirates is that all private companies must legally provide health insurance. So most people don’t need to worry about healthcare if they’re moving to Abu Dhabi.

However, some employers may use local health insurance; this is good, but it doesn’t always cover at-risk individuals with significant health issues. If you’re a high-risk individual, maintain your health insurance from your home country.

In Summary

The UAE economy continues to grow—there has never been a better time to move to the nation. Abu Dhabi offers excellent opportunities to people of all backgrounds and professions. The city offers world-class salaries with more affordable living costs than other major cities, such as London and NYC. Furthermore, you won’t pay a cent in tax; your earnings are all yours! 


At District Real Estate, we pride ourselves on finding the best real estate to fit your budget and lifestyle. Feel free to ask us any questions.

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