6 Costs Expected to Drain UAE Residents’ Wallets in 2024

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For many UAE residents, the ever-present concern of living costs seems like an unwelcome guest that refuses to leave. With almost half of residents citing it as their main source of stress, a survey paints a worrying picture of 2024. It appears this year might not offer much respite, with several factors poised to put further strain on household budgets. Let’s delve into the six areas expected to see cost increases:

1. Rent Squeeze Tightens:

Brace yourselves, renters! Experts predict Dubai’s housing market to witness a 20% hike in prime residential areas, following a significant 23-30% increase in 2023. This surge is attributed to a confluence of factors: increased investor interest, a rising influx of professionals, population growth, and Dubai’s growing appeal as a haven for the wealthy. Popular areas like Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Village Circle, and Downtown Dubai are likely to feel the pinch more acutely. While Abu Dhabi’s market is expected to experience modest growth, residents can still anticipate increases in both villa and apartment rents.

Rent Cost

2. Remittance Fees: Sending Money Home Gets Costlier: 

Expatriates sending money back home through money exchange houses will face a 15% service fee hike, translating to Dh2.5 extra per transaction. This increase applies to physical branch services, while mobile app options might stay the same or even decrease to maintain competitiveness. As the UAE is a major remittance hub, this change will impact residents from countries like India, Egypt, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

3. Salik Toll Expansion: More Gateways, More Expenses: 

Motorists, beware! November 2024 brings new Salik toll gates to key Dubai roads – one at Business Bay Crossing and another at Al Safa South. Each passage incurs a Dh4 toll, raising the total number of gates to ten. This not only affects car owners but also taxi users, as the fare increases with each Salik passage.

4. Goodbye Free Parking, Dubai Mall: 

Soon, convenience comes at a cost. Dubai Mall’s free parking is going the way of the dodo, replaced by a paid system implemented by Salik. Emaar Malls hasn’t announced the charges yet, but expect them to be deducted from your Salik account. This change will impact both shoppers and those opting for taxi services.

5. Gold: A Shining Savior or Rising Burden? 

While gold is often seen as a safe haven in uncertain times, its price fluctuations can be tricky. With interest rates predicted to fall in 2024, some analysts anticipate a rise in gold prices. Global uncertainties – like the Russia-Ukraine war and fluctuating central bank policies – could further impact its value. Whether gold acts as a hedge or burden remains to be seen.

Gold Cost

6. Standard of Living: A Balancing Act: 

Inflation is expected to rise in the UAE in 2024, though at a slower pace than last year. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is predicted to increase by 3.0%, driven by global factors like geopolitical tensions, population growth, and supply chain challenges. This translates to an overall rise in the cost of everyday essentials, further tightening household budgets.

Moving Forward:

Navigating these rising costs will require careful planning and budgeting adjustments. Exploring cost-saving alternatives, leveraging digital payment options, and staying informed about market trends can help residents weather the storm. While 2024 might bring financial challenges, with proactive measures and smart choices, residents can hopefully manage their expenses and maintain a comfortable standard of living.

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