According to a recent report on the cost of living in the region, Qatar is the most expensive out of the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, topping even expenses in the UAE. Reasons for this are for example rental costs which, while not yet as high as during their peak a few years ago, are still steadily rising due to high demand and limited supply, particularly in Doha. As such, it is important for expats to negotiate a correspondingly high salary or an additional housing allowance. Read on for more information not only on rents, but also on further important budget items that are bound to influence your cost of living in Qatar.
As already mentioned, rental expenses will play a big role in your cost of living in Qatar, so it is important to keep this in mind when negotiation the terms of your assignment. According to the aforementioned report, the average rental costs for a two-bedroom apartment in Qatar were around QAR 13,000 a month.
However, expenses for your accommodation obviously depend on its location and size, on how luxurious the flat or villa is, on included services, and so on. In addition to rent, do not forget to factor in possible real estate agent fees (typically about 5% of the rental costs for a year) as well as a security deposit (usually one month’s rent).
On average, rents and utility costs make up around 32% of expenditures, according to Qatar’s Consumer Price Index for March 2014. At the time of writing, expats could expect their cost of living in Qatar to include electricity bills based on prices of QAR 0.08–0.1 per KWH and water expenses of QAR 4.4 per cubic meter. When it comes to your utilities, also keep in mind that especially air conditioning units can quickly drive up your energy expenses!
In addition to expenses for accommodation and utilities, your cost of living in Qatar will most likely also include fees for telephone and internet, as well as television if you cannot get satellite reception or are hoping to receive a wider range of channels than just the free-to-air ones. Ooredoo, for example, is a well-known provider for both communication and television services in Qatar.
While prices depend on the exact services provided, expats in Qatar will for instance pay around QAR 33 a month plus connection costs (0.30–0.45 per minute) for a landline and a monthly QAR 300 for a 2 Mbit/s net connection. A mobile phone contract with 200 free minutes/SMS and a 250MB data allowance will set you back around QAR 40 a month, while Ooredoo’s so-called Silver International Package with 46 different television channels will set you back another QAR 250 in your cost of living in Qatar.
These prices are of course only exemplary and you should make sure to shop around. Also keep in mind that you might be able to save money by getting a package deal from one provider. You can, for example, get such a bundle deal for Ooredoo’s fibre-based broadband services, including telephone, internet (10Mbit/s) and television, for QAR 350 a month or more if a faster speed is desired.
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