Let’s face it! Any person who is planning to relocate to the UAE, the first dilemma they face is which city to move in. Of course, your first priority is to find a living space in the city where you will be setting up your business or get a job in. However, if you are yet to launch a setup or apply for a job in the UAE, the first thing you need to do is to finalise the city you will be staying in. Living in Dubai is the first option which comes to the mind, with more opportunities in jobs and business but there is always a living cost to develop a better lifestyle in Dubai. Considering Dubai and Sharjah being the most popular cities of the UAE along with Abu Dhabi, they garner the maximum interests from expats.

From sky-touching buildings to world-class facilities and amenities, these cities have everything to ensure the citizens live a high quality of life. However, the major difference lies in the cost of living. Needless to say, the  cost of living in Dubai is different than that in Sharjah. If you are planning to move to the UAE and are confused about whether to shift in Dubai or Sharjah, this comparative analysis of the cost of living in both these cities will help to clear your confusion. Read on to know more:

Cost of Residence

Without any doubt, the important aspect to consider before moving to UAE is the residence cost in both city. Dubai surges ahead of Sharjah when it comes to cost of residence as the apartments, villas and other types of residences here are more expensive. It can be ascertained from the fact that the price per square metre of an apartment in the City Centre in Dubai averages AED 12,345.02 while in Sharjah, it is AED 7,473.96. When it comes to finding an apartment outside of the centre, the price per square metre in Dubai & Sharjah is AED 8,448.91 and AED 4,425.00 respectively.

Similarly, when it comes to renting an apartment, prices in Sharjah are considerably lower as compared to Dubai. A 3-bedroom apartment in City Centre can be rented at the average price of AED 4,963.89 while for the same size of living space in Dubai, you will have to pay almost 57% more as the average rental price here for a 3-Bedroom apartment is AED 11,469.57.

Utility Cost

After residential cost, it’s the utility cost that consumes a major chunk of one’s monthly budget. Therefore, it deserves ample consideration when selecting a city. It may come across as a surprise to many but utility cost is lower in Dubai as compared to Sharjah. If you own or rent an 85m2 apartment in Dubai, basic utility cost for one month averages at AED 643.23. On the other hand, you will have to pay AED 657.63 as utility charges for the same size of an apartment in Sharjah.

Note: Utility cost covers electricity, heating, cooling, garbage, and water charges.  


Next is transportation and commutation cost. In this regard, Dubai fares slightly better if you prefer public transport or taxi. One-way ticket in Dubai is available at AED 6.00 while the same can be purchased in Sharjah at AED 8.00. The normal tariff for taxi start in Dubai is AED 12.00 and it charges AED 2.00 for 1km distance. In Sharjah, AED 13.50 and AED 3.00 are charged respectively for taxi start and 1km distance under normal tariff. This difference is due to the fact that gasoline rates differ slightly in both these cities.

In case you want to own a vehicle, Sharjah has them at relatively cheap rates. A Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline or an equivalent new car can be purchased in Sharjah at AED 65,000.00. In Dubai, these cars are available at AED 90,000.00.

Grocery & Shopping

When it comes to grocery items and shopping, Dubai is more expensive as compared to Sharjah. Fruits, vegetables, chicken, and other such items are slightly expensive here. Similarly, there’s a difference between clothing and shoe prices as well. The difference, in this case, is not slight but quite significant. For some items, the rates are over 50% higher.

The Takeaway

On the whole, barring utility cost, the living cost is higher in Dubai as compared to Sharjah. However, it also has more opportunities in terms of setting a business or landing a job opportunity. Furthermore, average salary packages are higher here as well. This somewhat makes up for the high living cost in Dubai.

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