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Cost of Living in Qatar

The cost of living in Qatar is not nearly as high as in the other Gulf nations, like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but it’s wealth is, nonetheless, on par. In 2010, both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank listed Qatar as having the highest GDP per capita in the world, and with statistics like this, many people are under the impression that everyone in the country benefits from a high standard of living.

The general lack of taxation in Qatar has a significant impact on the cost of certain items, e.g. cars. On the other hand, the cost of accommodation is sometimes high, as is that of certain food items, particularly imported foods. If you buy internationally recognised branded foods and household goods, you might pay higher prices than in your home country, but there are usually plenty of cheaper locally and regionally produced alternatives that are of excellent quality. Clothing can also be expensive if you favour designer labels, although there’s little need for winter clothing.

Accommodation costs will form the bulk of an expatriate's expenditure, roughly 30-40% of a monthly salary. Rents in expatriate standard accommodation are ridiculously high (they have decreased considerably over the past few years). Like any other country, the price of rent will be dictated by the type of property and its location. Most expatriates moving to Qatar will be based in its largest city, Doha, and people tend to choose which area they live in according to availability and proximity to work/children’s school. All areas of Doha have their pros and cons according to personal tastes, but there are no ‘bad’ sections of town.

The price of wines and spirits, where these are permitted, is slightly lower than in the UK but higher than average European prices. There is something for everyone and every budget when it comes to eating out in Qatar. Small, independent restaurants will be cheaper, of course, and will offer a far better value for money than the many chains eateries and the posher establishments found in hotels.

Electronic goods, such as televisions, hi-fis, DVD players, photographic equipment and computer hardware and software, are generally less expensive than in Europe, mainly because of lower import duties.

Utilities, such as electricity, water and gas, are subsidised to some extent by the region’s governments, which own the services (except for bottled gas supplies) in order to provide inexpensive electricity and water, mainly for the benefit of the local population. Utilities are therefore cheaper than in most European countries. However, at the height of summer, air-conditioning costs will escalate, rather as the cost of heating increases in winter in colder climates. Newcomers sometimes make the expensive mistake of keeping their air-conditioning on even when they’re out, but this is unnecessary, as air-conditioning systems reduce the temperature in your accommodation quickly when activated on your return home.

You should also allow for the cost of international telephone calls, although these are kept low by Qatar’s government, who wants to encourage international business and investment in the region.

The cost of petrol in Qatar is cheap, which adds to the intense love affair people have with their cars.

Your cost of living will obviously depend on your lifestyle. When you’re negotiating a work contract, it’s usual for your prospective employer to produce detailed cost of living figures for his country, which are useful in helping you to decide whether the proposed job is financially attractive or not. As with most of the Gulf region, salaries in Qatar have decreased over recent years, and many expatriates find that working here may not have as much appeal as it used to.





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