Oman and Dubai may offer very different experiences, but they also have a lot in common. Comparisons are frequently drawn to the fact that both countries are immensely popular with ex-pats, both are oil-rich Gulf states, and both are cosmopolitan focal points of the Arab world. However, one area where these two regional powerhouses diverge considerably is the cost of living.
Omanis looking to move to Dubai, whether it's for their career, for their studies, or for family, are often taken aback by the difference in living costs. The picture is somewhat uneven, with some things in Dubai being more pricey than in Oman, while many other things are actually cheaper. If you're considering the move, here is everything you need to know about the living costs of Oman versus Dubai.
When it comes to the daily essentials, Dubai slightly outprices Oman on almost every item. Virtually all grocery items, including water, bread, fruit, and milk, are around 10-20% higher in Dubai than they are in Oman. However, new arrivals in Dubai will notice that groceries and foodstuffs tend to be of a much higher quality in Dubai, owing to higher standards. There is also more choice to be found in shops and supermarkets due to the increasingly international population and globalised economy.
Utilities such as gas and electric are also higher in Dubai, with home utilities costing a staggering 200% more than in Oman. However, there are plenty of accommodation options in Dubai that offer bills included in the rent, meaning that this is less of a concern.
Next, we move onto housing costs, which tend to be higher in Dubai than in Oman. The rental market in Dubai has cooled significantly in recent years as a result of declining demand, meaning that new arrivals will get more bang for their buck. In addition, the luxury housing market in Dubai is much more developed than in Oman, meaning that new arrivals can expect to get very high-quality housing for less than they would pay in somewhere like Europe or the US. One way for new arrivals to get a good deal is to use a trusted and comprehensive rental site. Those looking for villas for rent in Dubai or any other property type for that matter, will be able to save sums by using an online platform such as Bayut. Overall, there are quite a lot of platforms that offer you plenty of filters to help you find a property for the price that suits you.
There's no denying that Dubai has plenty of distractions on offer, from Michelin-starred restaurants to the world's biggest mall. However, thrillseekers can expect to pay a premium for the privilege. A meal for two in a mid-range restaurant in Dubai will set you back around 200.00 AED, compared to just over 100.00 AED in Muscat. However, leisure activities such as cinema visits, sports facility rentals, and going to a bar will cost you virtually the same in Dubai as it would in Oman, as both are quite equally priced in this regard.
When comparing the cost of living between two places, one should always remember that the most important metric is local purchasing power. Put simply, this is the calculation of the overall cost of living after local salaries are taken into account. In this regard, those contemplating a move to Dubai should feel heartened. By the latest measurements, purchasing power in Dubai is a full 17% higher than in Muscat. This means that, despite the higher living costs, much higher salaries do more than enough to close the gap.
Now you know what to expect before your next trip to Dubai. Whether you're heading there for a short trip or looking to make a long-term move, these are the facts you need to keep in mind when attempting to cost it all.