7 Cheapest Places To Live In Dubai

Photo by Ahmed Aldaie on Unsplash
Photo by Ahmed Aldaie on Unsplash
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Dubai might not strike you as one of the cheapest places to live. When you picture it your mind probably goes to sleek highrises, artificial islands, ultra-luxury hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, and bucket list activities. Well, Dubai’s reputation as a millionaire’s playground is not wrong, but it’s not the whole picture either. 

In recent years, the cost of living has dropped in Dubai, and it’s now a cheaper place to live than both London and New York. This price drop has encouraged even more expats and remote workers to make a move towards that temptingly sun-soaked and glamorous Dubai lifestyle. 

But, you do still need to do your research because rent and property prices vary widely depending on the location. Prices might have dropped, but a villa on a man-made island still does not come cheap! So take a look at our list of the seven cheapest places to live before you make your move to Dubai. 

International City

International City is the cheapest place to live in Dubai
Photo by Partha Narasimhan on Unsplash

International City repeatedly tops the charts for cheapest places to live in Dubai. This custom-built complex covers eight million square meters and contains everything you could need, including schools, doctors, grocery stores, gyms, recreational facilities, restaurants, and cafes. Plus the Dragon Mart shopping center, home to 4000 stores, a hotel, cinema, and food court. It’s located only 15 minutes from the airport and is well connected to the rest of Dubai by public transport. 

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Another reason this neighborhood is so popular is its architectural style. International City has embraced the multicultural nature of Dubai and created ten distinct accommodation clusters, each modeled on a different country. Residents can choose to live in buildings inspired by France, Greece, China, Morrocco, and others. And this range of styles gives the region a charming appearance, at odds with the sleek highrises found elsewhere.

But its premier appeal is, of course, the price. International City was purpose-built to offer quality, affordable housing for singles, couples, and families. 

Average price for a year rental: 

  • Studio 16,000AED
  • 2 bedroom apartment 34,000AED

Dubai Silicon Oasis

What began as a hub for tech startups has become a desirable residence and one of the cheapest places to live in Dubai.
Photo by Saj Shafique on Unsplash

What started as a hub for tech startups has fast become a desirable and affordable residential area of Dubai. Silicon Oasis is conveniently located on Sheikh Zayed Rd – Dubai’s main highway – just 15mins from the airport and next door to Academic City, making it the perfect spot for students. It’s also a perfect spot for anyone wanting to run their own business as it’s renowned for its cutting-edge technology park and array of commercial spaces for lease. 

The technology park is one of three zones that make up the area. There is also a zone for residential apartment blocks and an area filled with gated communities of quaint villas. It’s all enclosed within green spaces filled with palm trees that give the oasis its name, and will make you feel you’ve stepped away from the bustle of the city. 

Average price for a year rental: 

  • Studio 23,000AED
  • 2 bedroom apartment 45,000AED

Dubai Sports City 

This is the place to live for sports enthusiasts.
Photo by Sydney Rae on Unsplash

This might be one of the cheapest places to live in Dubai, but it’s also pretty special whatever your budget. Dubai Sports City is a town within the city, with all the necessary amenities and facilities you could want, including schools, shops, medical clinics, and dining opportunities. Plus a 25,000-seat stadium and indoor arena.

As the name suggests, this place is perfect for sports lovers. The neighborhood is packed with sports and health facilities, including gyms, spas, and jogging paths. But also international standard training facilities, the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, and athletics, football, and golf academies.

Along with all these opportunities for sporting excellence, one of the main appeals of this neighborhood is that the many green spaces, cycle paths, and recreational zones create a small-town feel you wouldn’t think possible in a megacity such as Dubai. And if you want to get away, it’s only 15 minutes from the fantastic waterfront space of Dubai Marina.

Average price for a year rental: 

  • Studio 20,000 AED
  • 2-bedroom apartment 42,000 AED


Deira is one of the cheapest places to live in Dubai in an organic neighbourhood.
Photo by Zosia Korcz on Unsplash

Deira is one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Dubai. And unlike most of the other areas on our list, it isn’t a purpose-built residential complex but a historic area of the city which has grown and evolved over time. This might not appeal to people wanting gated communities and in-house facilities, but it’s a great choice for anyone looking to immerse themselves in an authentic area of Dubai. 

Deira stretches along the northern bank of Dubai Creek and is a wonderful mix of old and new Dubai. Alongsode the old-world charm of gold souks and spice merchants, museums, and historical sights, you’ll find up-to-date facilities and businesses, smart hotels, luxury shops and malls, and a huge number of traditional and modern restaurants. 

This atmospheric neighborhood is popular with budget travelers, people wanting short term stays, and anyone wanting an affordable base from where to explore the rest of Dubai. 

Average price for a year rental: 

  • Studio 30,000 AED  
  • 2 bedroom Apartment 60,000 AED

Discovery Gardens

This is the place for garden and nature lovers
Photo by Yeswanth M on Unsplash

This well-planned community is a great spot for families or anyone looking for a laid-back neighborhood with plenty of leafy green spaces. There are no highrise buildings here, but European-style apartment blocks, which like International City, were built in distinct architectural styles. Residents can choose to be in the Cactus, Mediterranean, or Zen Garden cluster, and surrounding them all lie miles of lush gardens, leafy foliage, groomed lawns, and colorful blooms. 

Discovery Gardens has its own facilities, including a metro stop, medical centers, pools, tennis courts, and over 200 shops. And it’s also located right beside the Jebel Ali Village, known for its upscale shops and dining opportunities.

This is one of the cheapest places to live in Dubai, but it’s also one of our favorites. The ethos of garden living adds something special to the neighborhood, and it’s perfect for anyone wanting a tranquil place to return home to after a day out in the urban madness of Dubai. 

Average price for a year rental: 

  • ​​Studio 45,000 AED
  • 2 Bedroom Apartment 92,000AED

Jumeirah Village Circle 

JVC is one of the cheapest place to live in Dubai if you're looking for a villa or townhouse.
Photo by Eslam Tawakol on Unsplash

Jumeirah Village Circle or JVC is one of the most sought-after residences in Dubai. It offers some of the city’s cheapest, high-quality accommodation in the heart of New Dubai, just 20 minutes from both downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina. 

This meticulously planned complex is known for having top-notch facilities, including international schools, restaurants, nurseries, medical clinics, shops, sports facilities, and over 30 landscaped parks. It is also famous for offering spacious family-friendly townhouses and villas at affordable prices. But if you’d rather have an apartment, you can choose from state-of-the-art studios up to four-bedroom penthouses with stunning city views and every sleek modern convenience you could ask for. 

Average price for a year rental: 

  • Studio 22,000 AED
  • 2-bedroom apartment 42,000 AED


Satwa is a diverse, multicultural, friendly and affordable neighbourhood.
Photo by Sahil Moosa on Unsplash

This is the second of only two organic neighborhoods on our list. Satwa was not planned or custom-built as a residential complex but is an area that has grown organically with the city. People looking for self-contained residences can find some small gated communities within the neighborhood. But Satwa has a lively, sociable vibe that appeals more to people who want to feel part of the city. It’s filled with expats and travelers and is home to multicultural shops and restaurants offering diverse global cuisines.

It’s in a desirable location, sandwiched between the Old Town of Bur Dubai, Downtown Dubai, and the waterfront district of Jumeirah. Sheikh Zayed Road runs parallel to it, and excellent public transport links make this an ideal, affordable area for anyone who doesn’t own a car.

Average price for a year rental: 

  • Studio 32,000 AED
  • 2 bed apartment 70,000AED
Follow our guide to find the cheapest places to live in Dubai.
Photo by Mohammad Wasim on Unsplash

What is the cheapest place to live in Dubai?

International City is the cheapest place to live in Dubai. Apartments start at 16,000 AED for one-year rentals, and the self-contained neighborhood has all the facilities you could need. 

Is Dubai expensive?

Dubai can be expensive, but prices are falling. According to the Mercer Cost of Living Scale 2021, Dubai has fallen from number 23 to number 42 (London ranks #18, New York #14, and Singapore #7). There has been a drop in rent and property prices alongside falling healthcare, education, transport, and recreation costs. This change increases Dubai’s appeal as a place for expats and remote workers to set up shop.

What is the cost of living in Dubai?

The cost of living in Dubai depends on where you choose to live, whether you buy or rent, and what you decide to do in your spare time. But on average, the cost for a month not including rent is:

Single Person 3,480 AED (947 USD).

Family of four 11,960 AED (3250 USD).

And the average rent per month on a one-bedroom apartment:

In the city center, 5,140 AED (1400 USD).

Outside the city center. 3,280 AED (893 USD).

What makes Dubai so expensive?

There is an abundance of luxury shops, high-end restaurants, and bucket list activities on offer, which can make your budget quickly go out of the window. Alcohol and nights out are expensive, and most people choose to drive or take taxis rather than using public transport, which can all add to your costs. 

But, if you choose your restaurants, activities, bars, and transport wisely and choose to live somewhere on our list of cheapest places, there’s no reason why you can’t stick to your budget in Dubai. 

What is the cheapest time to visit Dubai?

The cheapest time to visit Dubai is, strangely enough, during the peak summer months. Summer in Dubai is far too hot for most people, with temperatures often in the high 40°C’s and sandstorms that can whip through the city, canceling outdoor plans. So prices drop on hotels and flights, and if you don’t mind the heat or plan to spend all your time inside enjoying the air conditioning, you can grab yourself a bargain. 

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Joe has been a freelance travel writer for over nine years. His writing and roaming have taken him from the colonial towns of Mexico to the chowks of Mumbai to the Southern Alps of New Zealand. When he's not putting together the next epic blog on the best Greek islands or ski fields in France, you can usually find him surfing or hiking – his two top hobbies.