The United Arab Emirates has become one of the best destinations for expatriates from all over the world. The UAE offers a unique balance of cultural diversity, out-of-the-world architecture, and economic growth for everyone moving here. In addition, the distinctive strategic location of the UAE makes it a dynamic business hub for both trade and tourism. 

Expatriate-friendly policies are one of the biggest reasons that attract people from all over the globe to move here. Choosing the right location to move to the UAE is paramount. For example, the cost of living would vary if you compare Dubai and Sharjah. Similarly, the accessibility and commute would differ and the same goes for the amenities and lifestyle. 

Today, we will explore the best rental options in both Dubai and Sharjah for American expatriates looking to rent in Dubai or Sharjah. Furthermore, we will compare the cost of living and other benefits of choosing these cities as your next home

Renting in Sharjah vs. Dubai: A Comprehensive Comparison

The basic purpose of this article is to offer a complete comparison of all the rental options for American expatriates who are thinking of moving to Dubai or Sharjah. Both of these areas are very prominent in the UAE. In addition, both of these cities have their pros and cons. 

Properties for Rent in Sharjah

Sharjah is the third largest city in the United Arab Emirates. Even though its neighbor Dubai has been the center of attention for quite some time now, Sharjah has maintained its unique charm and originality. The biggest reason expatriates choose Sharjah over Dubai is the lower cost of living and low rents of properties. In addition to that, dining out, doing groceries, and commuting also cost less than in Dubai. 

There are all kinds of properties for rent here in Sharjah. For example, you can find villas if you are looking to move with your family. You can also find apartments of all sizes in bustling neighborhoods. To get a better idea about the rent, you can check out Sharjah apartments for rent on

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Here are some of the popular areas in Sharjah along with the rent situation of different apartments.

Popular Areas  Studio (Avg. Yearly Rent) 1 Bed (Avg. Yearly Rent) 2 Bed (Avg. Yearly Rent)
Al Nahda  $5,445  $6,806  $9,257
Al Majaz  $4,628  $7,351 $10,618
Al Taawun $5,173  $7,623 $9,801
Al Khan  $6,806 $8,712 $11,979
Muwaileh  $3,811 $6,806 $10,346

(These stats are derived from the Bayut Rental Report for Sharjah 2023) 

All of these accommodations are budget-friendly but they are equipped with all the amenities. This city also offers a serene sight for families and children as compared to Dubai’s bustling lifestyle.

There are a lot of museums and cultural sights here where you can learn about the history of the UAE. Lastly, Sharjah nurtures a sense of community for its residents. There are a lot of opportunities to mingle and socialize. 

Properties for Rent in Dubai

Dubai has taken center stage among the best cities in the world. You can find both innovation and modernism in Dubai. This is the reason expatriates from all over the world run towards Dubai for economic growth and a high quality of life. 

The living standard of Dubai is very high-class. Not only does it offer the best infrastructure but also the very best healthcare system along with an exceptional commute for its residents. All these factors have made Dubai quite expensive to live in. Whether you want to buy the property or just looking to rent in Dubai, you are going to have to break the bank.

Unlike Sharjah, living in Dubai costs a lot. This is particularly true if you are looking to rent some luxe properties in Dubai. The rental prices vary based on the location and property value.

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For example, if you are going to rent an apartment in Dubai Marina, it will cost you almost $30,000 annually for a one-bedroom apartment. On the other hand, acquiring some villas in the suburbs can be a good pick as well. Take villas in Mudon for example, you will be paying almost $44,000 yearly for a 3-bedroom villa. 

If you are an American expatriate looking for suitable rental options, there are quite a few popular areas here in Dubai. Let’s take a look:

  • Dubai Marina would be the best option for you if you are looking for an apartment in the heart of the city. You are going to have to pay $29,000 per year for a one-bed apartment here. 2 bed and 3-bed options would cost you $45,000 and $70,000 respectively. 
  • Business Bay is another popular area where you can opt to live. Again, it would be best for an apartment. One bed apartment would cost you $25,000 per year. 
  • Downtown Dubai is also a viable option for rental apartments. The rent starts from $36,000 per year for a one-bed apartment here downtown. 

(All the prices are taken from Bayut Annual Report 2023 on Dubai’s rental properties) 

Secondly, if you are looking for some family-friendly options to rent in Dubai, Arabian Ranches, Jumeirah, and Al Barari are some of the best options out there. These all are communities with villas for the families. 

Arabian Ranches offers 3-bedroom villas starting from $47,646. In Jumeirah, you will have to pay $40,840 for a 3-bedroom villa. 

(All the numbers are taken from Bayut – “Popular family-friendly residential areas in Dubai”) 

Both Sharjah and Dubai offer exceptional advantages for all the American expatriates looking to move here. You need to explore all the options before making a decision and choose the options that align with your interests & budget.

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Sharjah has a family-oriented lifestyle with a rich culture and serene environment. On the other hand, Dubai has the vibe of a giant cosmopolitan city in the world. It has unmatched amenities and a futuristic lifestyle. 

In the end, it all comes down to the personal preferences and priorities. Being an American expatriate, if you are looking for a relaxed environment with affordable rental options, Sharjah would be the best option for you. The option to rent in Dubai would be a wise choice if you want to look for economic growth and cultivate relations. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Factors to consider for an American expatriate when choosing between Dubai & Sharjah

Answer: Apart from personal preferences and priorities, there are several factors to consider when deciding between Dubai and Sharjah. Here are some of the main factors to consider: 

  • Living cost 
  • Amenities & Infrastructure 
  • Education & healthcare facilities 
  • Economic growth & business opportunities 
  • Community living & safety 

Q2: What are the main differences between Dubai & Sharjah’s rental market dynamics? 

Answer: The first major difference would be rental prices between these two cities. Dubai is costly compared to Sharjah. There are a lot of affordable housing options in Sharjah making it convenient for expatriates looking for budget-friendly rental options. Lastly, both these cities have different rental laws and regulations. 

Q3: Can you live in Sharjah & work in Dubai? 

Answer: Yes, you can. Since both these cities are adjacent, there are a lot of geographical connections between them. Not to mention, there is also an efficient commute system between these cities. It is feasible and many individuals are already doing it.