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Thinking of moving to Qatar? Where will you live?

Published on 27.01.2013 by @QatarSteve


Moving to any new country is an exciting and challenging experience, and Qatar is no exception. It’s important however, as with any move, to know as much as you can about what you can expect, in particular, the cost and standard of living in your prospective new home.

Qatar’s population consists mainly of expatriates not surprisingly due to the fact that employment packages for expats in Qatar are usually quite lucrative, that and of course the lure of a tax-free salary.

So what can you expect to pay to live in Qatar?

Well, first of all, the likelihood is that the bulk of your monthly expenditure will be your accommodation costs. You can expect to be spending roughly thirty to forty percent of your monthly salary on this alone.

As in any other country rental prices are dictated by the type and location of property. Most expats who move to Qatar base themselves in Doha, Qatar’s largest city and the area of Doha they choose is usually dictated by availability and proximity to work or their children’s school. There are no bad sections of the town but of course all areas have their pros and cons according to personal tastes.

If you live in Doha you can expect accommodation to be more expensive than other areas but as Qatar is not a vast country in terms of size, if you do choose to live outside of Doha it shouldn’t take any more than 1-2 hours to get into the heart of the city. Moreover, wherever you live, in Qatar there is very little crime to speak of so you can rest assured that you’ll be safe and secure in your new home.

Accommodation costs in Qatar

Possibly two of the most expensive areas to live in Doha are West Bay and the Pearl, West Bay being the most central of the two. The cost of a two bedroom apartment in either one of these locations can set you back anything from 13,000 to around 17,000 Qatari Riyals per month compared to 7,000 to around 9,000 QR in the Al Saad area and 5,000 to around 6,000 QR per month in Al Khor which is located  50km north of Doha. Larger families can expect to pay around 18,000 Qatari Riyals a month for a semi-detached 4 bedroom villa in the Al Rayyan area of Doha, the largest municipality in the state of Qatar.

The good news is that as an expat in Qatar a housing allowance may very likely be a part of your salary and in fact some businesses may even give you free accommodation. Some employment packages also include an allowance for shipping over personal items from your home country.

Although accommodation in Qatar is quite expensive the government charges for necessities such as water, electricity and home phone lines are very reasonable. But be aware that some apartments have yearly fees attached for maintenance/servicing and it would be wise to check who is responsible for these costs, the landlord or the tenant.

Getting around

When deciding where to live in Qatar it’s important to consider what will be your mode of transport, especially the further out of the city you expect to travel.

For those living within the city centre, public transport consists of buses and taxis, both modes of transport offering good value.

For those preferring a higher level of independence car hire is always a possibility but this can be very expensive. Of course you can purchase a new car for around the same price you would expect to pay in your home country. However, a great tip is to look out for the deals that can be found on many used vehicles due to the high turnover rate of expatriates in Qatar.

Keeping your car topped up with fuel is certainly not a problem as petrol is so cheap in Qatar, the price of a litre equating to approximately a fifth of the price of a litre of fuel in the UK.

A word of warning – driving in Qatar can take some getting used to. Allow plenty of time for your journey as traffic can be heavy. Always be vigilant and expect the unexpected, and NEVER, EVER jump a red light as the penalty is 6000QR!

We hope you find this information useful, if you have any questions or you have other information you think could help someone who is thinking of moving to Qatar please send us an email.

For those who have in mind setting up their own business in Qatar please read our tips on business etiquette…

Business Etiquette Tips part i
Business Etiquette Tips part ii



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