Cost of Living: Australia vs. the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Cost of Living: Australia vs. the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – As globalization fosters closer ties between nations, many professionals and families find themselves contemplating a move across continents.

Among the many countries that are popular destinations for expats, Australia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stand out due to their robust economies and high living standards.

But how does the cost of living in the UAE and Australia compare? Let’s delve into the details.


  1. Housing:

Australia: Major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane have witnessed significant property price hikes over the years. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can be quite expensive, often surpassing AUD 2,000 per month in areas like Sydney.

UAE: The real estate market in the UAE, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is diverse. Over the past few years whilst prices did stabilize with the recent resurgence in the UAE’s popularity as a expat destination prices have surged again. While luxury properties can be quite expensive, affordable options are available, especially with the vast number of apartment complexes. On average, a one-bedroom city center apartment might range from AED 6,000 to AED 10,000 per month.


  1. Utilities:

Australia: Utilities (including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage) can cost around AUD 150 – 250 per month for an 85 m2 apartment.

UAE: Utility costs can be higher, particularly due to air conditioning being essential for the hot climate. Expect to pay between AED 500 to AED 1,000 per month.


  1. Transportation:

Australia: Owning a car is common in Australia. Public transportation, while efficient, can be pricey, especially in cities like Sydney and Melbourne. A monthly transport pass might be around AUD 150.

UAE: Petrol is cheaper compared to many countries, making car ownership popular. However, cities like Dubai also have efficient public transport systems including metros, trams, and buses. A typical monthly pass would be around AED 300.


  1. Food:

Australia: Groceries can be expensive but are of high quality. Dining out in a mid-range restaurant for two might set you back AUD 80 or more.

UAE: While local produce and items are reasonable, imported goods can be costly. Dining in similar mid-range restaurants could cost between AED 150 to AED 300.


  1. Lifestyle and Entertainment:

Australia: Australia offers diverse entertainment options from beach outings, theater, music festivals to sports. The average ticket to the movies is around AUD 20.

UAE: The UAE is renowned for its luxury shopping malls, desert safaris, and world-class entertainment facilities. A movie ticket might range from AED 35 to AED 50.


  1. Taxation:

Australia: Australia has a progressive income tax system, with residents taxed on worldwide income. The rates vary based on income.

UAE: One of the significant attractions of the UAE is its zero personal income tax. This can lead to substantial savings for Australian expats.


  1. Healthcare:

Australia: Healthcare in Australia is of a high standard. Residents have access to Medicare, but many also opt for private health insurance.

UAE: Private healthcare facilities in the UAE are state-of-the-art, but healthcare can be expensive without insurance. Most employers provide health insurance as part of the employment package.



While Australia offers a high quality of life with beautiful landscapes and a diverse cultural scene, the cost of living can be quite high in major cities.

The UAE, with its strategic location and tax-free income, offers a luxurious lifestyle, especially in cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

However, the overall cost of living might be similar to Australia, with savings mainly coming from tax benefits and potentially housing, depending on individual preferences.

For someone contemplating a move to the UAE from Australia, it’s crucial to factor in individual priorities like housing type, proximity to work, lifestyle preferences, and family needs.

A detailed personal budget would be the best guide to understanding the financial implications of such a move.

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