Living in Doha Qatar
Cost of Living in Doha Qatar
The cost of living in Qatar, or in any place for that matter, largely depends on your lifestyle and where you come from. Qatar is not a very expensive place to live in, and the government does not charge a lot on several things including electricity, water, and home phone lines. Qatar hardly imposes taxes. The only tax being levied is the import tax, but that is also quite reasonable. The citizens here get free electricity, water, and phone lines! The only major expense that one would have to deal with here is the accommodation, which largely depends on your location of stay.
However, people entering the country aiming to work and live, find that while some things here may be cheaper, others may be quite expensive.
The overall cost of living index in Doha equals with high cost of living in several locations. The index for overall cost of living is based on prices for specific quantities for the same goods and services across major Basket Groups. Doha holds the 49th position as the most expensive place in the world for expatriate living, out of 300 international locations. The rank for cost of living for each of the 13 Basket Group is as follows.
Almost all expatriates working in Qatar rent their properties, and majority of them are on employment contracts that offer free or subsidized housing, utilities and furniture. Majority of property in Qatar available for rent in Qatar are unfurnished, irrespective of whether it is a grand villa or a modest studio apartment. The unfurnished apartments will offer only the bare essentials such as a kitchen unit, curtain rails, lighting fixtures (could also mean semi-furnished). There are also furnished properties but, that it harder to find and is more expensive.
Almost all expatriate accommodation in Doha come with a range of amenities including swimming pools, gymnasiums, tennis courts and playgrounds. Majority of villas and houses have gardens. It is also possible to find separate apartments and townhouses to rent.
Find a rented accommodation in Qatar is a straight-forward, well-established practice. Several leading international firms often have their own housing arrangements in the form of long-term leases on properties for their staff. But, if you have to find self-accommodation, there is considerable choice and depends on the type of property you want.
You can decide on a budget, and choose a location depending on the importance of accessibility to your work place, the type and size of living space you want, irrespective of whether it is villa or apartment, number of bedrooms, etc. Doha, being a small city, almost all areas are easily accessible to the City Centre, schools and airport.
But, with the shortage in rental accommodation at present and due to huge rental prices, owing to booming of the economy, growing population of expatriate employees seeking accommodation in Qatar, and due to clearance of old buildings over the last two years, the rentals have almost tripled.
However, in recent years, due to landlords and agencies having increased rentals, some expatriates have found it impossible to cover the cost of their family accommodation out of their fixed housing allowance and have either left the country, or have sent their families back home, and are living in shared accommodation.
The typical monthly rentals at present (approximate values) are as follows…but, it varies largely depending on the location of the property.
The approximate cost for a single bedroom or studio for rent could be QR3000 (unfurnished), or QR4500-5000(furnished).
Unfurnished double bedroom apartments could be QR5000 and upwards. Furnished double bedrooms could cost QR6000 or more.
Triple or four bedroom villas could cost QR12,000 while villa on expatriate compound could cost QR20,000.
Cost of transportation for public transport, vehicle fuel, vehicle insurance, vehicle maintenance including in the form of hire purchase or lease of vehicle, petrol or diesel, public transport service maintenance, tires, vehicle insurance and vehicle purchase is comparatively less when compared to most other cities. Petrol is very reasonable and second-hand cars are also reasonably priced.
The general mode of transport in Qatar is through Bus, Karwa taxi or private taxi. The approximate cost of travel when you go in Karwa could be QR25 to QR30 one way. Else, you can also hire a car (Honda City) for QR1800 per month. If not hiring a luxury car, then the hire charges could be about QR1300 to QR1500 per month.
Educational expenses such as crèche/pre-school fees, high school/college fees, primary school fees, and tertiary study fees in Qatar, are comparatively less expensive compared to other cities.
The cost of private education could be high, but in certain cases, the fees are borne by the employer as part of the employment contract. It is important to be aware about the cost of private schooling when moving into Qatar with a school-going child, especially if it includes university education. Although it may seem manageable initially, it could seem a financial strain owing to regular increase in fees, as often is the case. The cost of schooling varies depends on the type of school and curriculam followed. For instance, the average cost of education in an American School could cost up to QR75k annually per kid.
Cost of clothing and footwear including business suits, casual clothing or children’s clothing, and accessories such as hats, coasts, evening wear, and innerwear is said to be little too expensive in Qatar, when compared to other cities. Clothing could seem expensive if you look out for designer labels. But, there is hardly any need for winter clothing here. Given, the region’s hot climate, lots of clothing is unnecessary. Office wear for men is generally a shirt and tie, except for formal occasions.
Cost of various modes of communication including home telephone rental and call charges, internet connection and service provider fee, mobile phone contract and calls, all are equally expensive on an average, in comparison to other cities.
The cost for food, non-alcoholic beverages and cleaning material items, including baked goods, canned foods, baby consumables, dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, oil and vinegars, meat, pet food, ready-to-eat meals, sauces, snacks, seafood, soft drinks, spices and herbs are comparatively expensive in comparison to other cities. If you purchase internationally-renowned branded foods and household goods, you might end up paying higher prices than in your home country, although there are plenty of cheaper local and regionally produced alternatives available offering good quality products.
The cost of healthcare, medical and medical insurance such as general practitioner, consultation rates, hospital private ward daily rate, private medical insurance, non-prescription medicine, medical aid contributions, are all comparatively more expensive in comparison to other cities.
Utilities including water, electricity and gas are subsidized to a certain extent by the government in the region, which owns these services (except for bottled gas supplies), aiming to offer cheaper water and electricity, to benefit the local population. Therefore, utilities are cheaper than most European countries. But, in peak summer air-conditioning costs will surge, instead of the cost of heating in other colder countries.
The cost of alcoholic beverages such as wines and spirits, where these are permitted, are a little lower than in the UK, although they are still higher than average European prices.
Electronic goods including television, DVD players, computer hardware and software, photographic equipments are all generally less expensive than in Europe, owing to lower import duties.
Cost of personal care products and services such as cosmetics and hair care or moisturizer and sun-block, pain relief tablets, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, are all equally expensive on an average in comparison to other nations, depending on the brand opted for.
Cost of books, cinema tickets, DVD and CDs, are comparatively more expensive than in other cities.
Restaurants and eating out costs such as business dinner, or family dinner at a restaurant is comparatively expensive here.
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