Complex Made Simple

Lower pay coupled with lower costs keep the UAE as balanced as it could be

Dubai ranked 17th overall in its Quality of Life index in 2019 – up one place on 2018, following Deutsche Bank releasing its annual " Mapping the World's Prices," report. Riyadh ranked 26th one the same index and Cairo ranked 49th. 

The report is a representative picture of costs and income which for the UAE cannot be more balanced.

Costs down

ZAWYA reports from the survey that Dubai has become a cheaper place to rent in 2019, but rising costs in other areas meant that the average disposable income enjoyed by a typical couple after rent payments actually fell.

 “Dubai moved down 4 places on the list ranking from most expensive to least, with average monthly rental costs for a 2-bedroom apartment cited at $1,576 per month – a 13% decline on last year,” Zawya reported.

The survey found that consumer price inflation (CPI) in the UAE in 2018 jumped to 3.08% from 1.97% in 2017, mostly due to a 5% VAT introduction, January 1, 2018.

But according to Dr Cedwyn Fernandes, economist, pro-vice chancellor and director, Middlesex University Dubai, “Food prices have shown a marginal decrease of 0.74% when compared to March 2018, a reflection of the weak demand conditions,” as reported by GulfNews.

The CPI has fallen by 2.5% in March 2019 yoy. “The major reason for this is the reduction by 5.27% in transportation and 6.54% in housing costs. Both these components total a 48.7% of the CPI basket of goods and services. In effect, living costs in the UAE have fallen reducing the burden on the consumer.”

Apartment and Home prices

A Consumer Confidence Tracker survey for Q1 2019 published by Dubai-based financial comparison site yallacompare found that 30% of UAE residents are paying a lower amount in rent than they were 12 months ago, according to Zawya.

The Dubai House Price Index from Property Monitor, which tracks the prices of a selection of apartment and villa/townhouse properties since 2015, has noted an overall decline of 13.2% in average price annually this April, compared to a 9.2% annual decline recorded in January 2019.

According to the House Price Index, the average villa/townhouse price decreased to $1.2 million, and the average apartment price remained stable at $463,000 in April 2019 for the same selection of properties tracked since September 2015. House prices in the three months leading up to April were 4.9% lower, compared to the previous quarter. 

Abu Dhabi real estate sales prices and rental rates continued to undergo downward adjustments throughout 2018, albeit at a lesser rate towards the end of the year, indicating that in some locations pricing levels are starting to become more realistic, according to research from leading international real estate services firm, Chestertons, latest Observer: Abu Dhabi Market Report Q4 2018. 

Apartment and villa rates in Dubai both fell 3% between January and the end of March compared to the fourth quarter of last year, property services company Asteco said. JLL Mena meanwhile reported a 1% fall across both segments in the first quarter.

Jobs- a balanced picture 

Recruitment specialists at Robert Half revealed that analysts, developers and finance managers have topped the list of in-demand jobs for 2019, according to GulfNews.

Financial planning analysts can earn an annual compensation of $82,200 to $123,500 at big companies in the UAE, according to Robert Half.  

Developers are also at the top of the list, as more start-ups and fintech firms set up shop in the UAE. A developer’s annual income can range between $52,300 and $125,100.

Candidates who get hired as finance managers can expect an annual salary of $103,000 to $165,000, according to Robert Half.  

Despite having one of the highest salary structures regionally, Dubai also fell by three places to 11th on a ranking measuring disposable income after rents. The average couple have $2,068 at their disposal after paying rent in 2019, a 19% yoy drop from the $2,554 at their disposal last year. This is because the average monthly salary in the city dropped 17% yoy to $2,856 per month, according to Deutsche Bank's report, citing data from website