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Cost of Living in Doha, Qatar [UPDATED]

Cost of Living Qatar

The cost of living in Qatar, or in any place, largely depends on your lifestyle and where you come from. Qatar is not a very expensive place to live in, and the government also cooperates small amounts of charge for several things including electricity, water, and other needs. Qatar hardly imposes taxes.

The only tax being raised is the import tax, but that is also quite reasonable. The citizens here get free electricity, water, and phone lines. The huge expenses that you may face with. Here are some of them – accommodation, which largely depends on your location of stay, apart from educational expenses if living with family.

However, most people travel to another country with the motive of just work and living, while noticing some of the things may be cheaper here, others may be quite expensive. The overall cost of living in Qatar is high compared to other GCC regions like Kuwait, Oman, KSA and Bahrain.

Somehow when compared to GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) regions like Kuwait, Oman, KSA. The cost of living in Qatar is expensive. So, it is important to remember when we talk about the impressive salary that you need to live on, as well as save it.

Apart from the cheaper cost of petrol, many other daily goods are more expensive in Qatar, when compared to other countries. About 90% of food in Qatar is imported to other countries, and hence the basic foodstuffs may be pricey. Also, the cost of entertainment is expensive.

In 2018 dealers and traders Cost of Living Index placed Doha at 115th position, when surveyed about 209 cities, placing it below other major Middle Eastern cities like Dubai and Riyadh, these cities are relatively more expensive than Kuwait City and Muscat.

The overall cost of living in Qatar can be classified based on the- prices for specific quantities of the same goods and services across major Basket Groups.

Renters usually spend about one-third of average monthly expenses of an expat family, and accounts to one-third of CPI (Consumer Price Index), a cost of living measurement which compares real-time prices of common consumer goods, while comparison of same month, in the previous year. The CPI is usually calculated by comparing the cost of an average basket of goods purchased by residents in a particular month.

Electricity & Water

Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation known as “KAHRAMAA” is the only distributor owner and operator in Qatar. 

According to KAHRAMAA, the electricity & water tariffs are – 

ELECTRICITY – TARIFF

  • 1-2000 (0.11)
  • 2001-4000 (0.13)
  • 4001-15000 (0.18)
  • 15001-99999999.. (0.26)

WATER- TARIFF

  • 1-20 (5.5)
  • 21-250 (7)
  • 251-99999999.. (10)

Accommodation

[Updated]

An accommodation cost is one of the costly expenses to live in Qatar, Doha. However, Qatar gives several housing options from studio flats to dwellings, depending on your budget and area.

According to Property Finder listings, an unfinished studio apartment in Doha is for QR 1,400 and an unfurnished three-bedroom apartment at QR 4,000. 

Rent House in Qatar

Almost all the people working in Qatar, rent their properties, and majority of them are on employment bases that offer free or subsidized housing, utilities and furniture. The number of properties which are in Qatar, are available for rents.

Which are unfurnished and irrespective whether it may be a grand villa or an apartment. The unfurnished apartments consist only of essentials such as a kitchen unit, curtain rails, lighting fixtures (could also mean semi-furnished). There are also furnished properties in Qatar. But they are harder to find and are also more expensive.

Almost all expat accommodation in Doha come with a range of essentials including swimming pools, gyms, tennis courts and playgrounds. Majority of villas and houses have gardens. It is also possible to find separate apartments and townhouses for rent.

Several leading international firms often have their own housing arrangements in the form of long-term agreements on properties for their staff. But, if you need self-accommodation, there are countable choices and it 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 workplace, the type and size of living space you want, whether it may be a 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.

Renters costs will take up a lion’s share of your monthly budget. You can also have a consideration of your investment to purchase the items such as beds and sofas, as most of the properties are available for renters in Qatar  which are unfurnished. Better to look for a grand apartment or a large villa.

The typical monthly rents for apartments at present (approximate values) are as follows: But, the amount of rates are being depended on the location of the property.

Depending on the location of the flat or house you choose, and the amenities available there, the monthly rents for studio and single bedroom apartments, typically fall in the range QR2800 to QR7000. A bed space rent can be average at QR 900.

At the higher-end of the scale, a single bedroom flat in luxurious Pearl Qatar development can start at QR10,000, while a two bedroom would be about QR12,000 to QR14,000.

Two bedroom apartments in Umm Ghuwailina can cost QR6,500 per month, while a double bedroom fully-furnished apartment at Al Wakra may cost upto QR5000.

A three bedroom apartment in the city centre may be in between QR7000 and QR15000.

Now, with these kinds of rents, unless your employer gives you a generous housing allowance, even the most appealing tax-free salary may not be able to help, when you relocate to Qatar.

Transportation

Cost of transportation for public transport, vehicle fuel, vehicle insurance, vehicle maintenance including in the form of purchase or lease of vehicle, petrol or diesel, public transport service maintenance, vehicle insurance and vehicle purchase is comparatively less. When compared to other cities.

The public transportation is bus and Doha metro apart from the taxi. The bus rides start from QR 2.50 for short trips while a single Metro ride costs QR 2.

To ride in the Karwa public bus, Krwa smartcards are needed. It costs from QR 10 to QR30.

You can also drive, if you don’t have a driving license you can register in a driving school in Qatar. The fees differ from QR 3,250 to QR 3,850 for a full course.

Karwa BusStarts at QR 2.50
Doha MetroQR 2.00
Karwa TaxiStarts at QR 10
Uber/CareemStarts at QR 8

The cost of petrol keeps increasing since January 2021. According to June 2021, the 91 Premium petrol is at QR 1.85, 95 Super petrol at QR 1.90, and Diesel is at QR 1.75.

Education

Education City

Educational expenses are repeatedly increasing year by year in Qatar. There is a public school system in Qatar, which is free. But, it is only open to nationals. The cost of private education could be high, but the quality of education is great.

In some cases, the fees are borne by the employer as part of the employment contract. Hence, it would be wise to make sure of this, before you sign your contract.

It is important to be aware about the cost of private schooling when moving into Qatar with a school-going child, especially it includes university education.

Although it may seem manageable initially, it may end up being a financial strain owing to a regular increase in fees, as often in the case. The cost of schooling varies depending on the type of school and curriculum followed.

Typically, for a private preschool or kindergarten school. You may have to pay QR1000 to QR3000 per month for full day care of a single child.

The primary school fee for international schools per year could be around QR18,000 to QR50,000 depending on the school and facilities.

Fees for high schools could be about QR70,000 per year. Please note, that it does not include uniforms and transport fee.

The education fees can be varied and also depends on the child’s level of educational attainment or school grades. Apart from tuition fees, there are other fees to view such as application fees, uniform fees, and more. For example, annual tuition fees in Indian schools: Kindergarten fees can vary from QR 3,700 to QR 13,000 while Grade 12 varied from QR 7,000 to QR 18,000.

In nutshell, Qatar provides a variety of services and outputs depending on one’s budget and needs, hence your costs will vary depending on your lifestyle.

Clothes and Shoes

Cost of clothing and footwear including business suits, casual clothing or children’s clothing, and accessories such as hats, coats, evening wear, and innerwear is little bit expensive in Qatar, when compared to other nations. However, in some cases only when you look out for designer labels.

There is hardly a need for winter clothing here. Coming back to the region’s hot climate, lots of clothing is not needed. Office wear for men is generally a shirt and tie, except for formal occasions.

At present, when shopping, a pair of jeans may cost about QR100 to QR350, a summer dress in a chain store like Zara or H&M may cost about QR100 to QR300, a pair of Nike running shoe costs about QR250 to QR500 and a pair of men leather business shoe may fall in the range QR200 to QR500.

Food

The daily cost of living mainly depends on food prices. 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, sea-foods, soft drinks, spices and herbs are expensive when compared to other nations.

The option of local and imported food products in groceries, supermarket and wholesale markets in Qatar are available. You can also search the daily price of commodities and comparison of food and non-food consumer goods at the website of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

QFM Flour No.1QR 4.5 (1 kg)
Qatari tomatoQR 3/kg
Qatari cucumberQR 3.5/kg
Syrian potatoQR 2/kg
Filipino bananaQR 5/kg
American red appleQR 6/kg
Qatar Sheri (fish)QR 9 – 18/kg
Qatar Hamour (fish)QR 38/kg
Fresh milkQR 7.25/1 Liter
White breadQR 5
Basmati riceQR 14.75 (Tilda 1 kg)
Whole fresh chickenstarts at QR 14.75
Brazilian beef topside (fresh)QR 9.75 (300g)
Water (1.5L)QR 1.25
Eggs (Large)QR 5.50 (6 pcs)
Sunflower OilQR 10.50 (1 Liter)

Eating Out

You can pick any restaurants according to your budget. A meal for one at KFC differs from QR 15 to QR 34.

Expats may probably spend 10 to 20 percent of their salaries on food, every month. Given below are the current prices of the general food items, so as to get a clear idea about market prices.

Food Item                                                     Price range
Milk (regular), (1 liter)                                    5.00 – 7.00
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)                 4.00 – 7.00
Rice (white), (1kg)                                         4.00 – 7.00
Eggs (regular) (12)                                        6.40 – 15.00
Local Cheese (1kg)                                      15.00 – 50.00
Chicken Breasts (1kg)                                  13.50 – 40.00
Beef Round (1kg)                                          16.50- 45.00
Apples (1kg)                                                  6.50 – 8.00
Banana (1kg)                                                 4.50 – 7.00
Oranges (1kg)                                               4.00 – 8.00
Tomato (1kg)                                                 4.00 – 9.00
Potato (1kg)                                                   2.00 – 5.00
Onion (1kg)                                                    2.00 – 4.00
Lettuce (1 head)                                             3.50 – 2.00
Water (1.5-liter bottle)                                    1.25 – 3.00

Healthcare

Hospitals in Qatar

The cost of healthcare, medical and medical insurance such as general practitioner, hospitals private ward daily rate, private medical insurance, non-prescription medicine, medical aid contributions, are all comparatively more expensive than compared to other cities.

Qatar has a well-resourced state healthcare system, namely Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), which offers free emergency treatment to all those who register. In Qatar you get good public health insurance for a comparatively cheaper price of QR200 annually.

But, now, HMC is facing pressure due to the long period for treatment, and hence the majority of expats opt for private healthcare which can be more expensive than (HMC). Therefore check your offer letter if it includes health insurance for you and your dependents and the exclusions that it may have.

The Qatari government has announced plans to introduce a universal health insurance system in future, which implies that every company may have to provide health insurance for their employees.

By applying for a Health Card, you can redeem the subsidized public healthcare provided by Qatar. It costs QR 50 for Qatari nationals, GCC nationals, and domestic workers, and costs QR 100 for ex-pats and their children and must be renewed yearly.

Communication

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, while compared to other cities. Mobile and internet bills may cost you about QR200 to QR500 depending on your usage.

Utilities / Entertainment / Miscellaneous

Utilities including water, electricity and gas are subsidized to a certain extent by the government in the region, which owns these services, aiming to provide cheaper water and electricity prices, to benefit the local population. Therefore, utilities are relatively cheaper than most other European countries. But, in peak summer air-conditioning costs will surge.

The water tariff in Qatar at present is QR4.40 per cubic metre for a bulk amount of 20 cubic metres of water, while electricity tariff is about QR0.08/kwh for a consumption of upto 2000kwh.

The cost of alcoholic beverages such as wines and spirits, where these are permitted, is a little lower compared to the UK, or other countries, although they are still higher than average European prices.

Electronic goods including television, DVD players, computer hardware and software, photographic equipment are generally less expensive than in Europe.

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 in comparison to other nations, depending on the brand.

Cost of books, cinema tickets, DVD and CDs, are comparatively more expensive than in other cities.

Restaurants and eating costs such as business dinner, or family dinner at a restaurant is comparatively expensive in Qatar. Basic dinner (three course) for two, in a mid-range restaurant can cost you QR100 to QR250, A McMeal at McDonalds or equivalent combo meal can cost QR20 to QR25, while bottled water costs QR0.75 to QR1 (for 0.33 one litre of bottle).

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