Renting an apartment in upscale areas of Dar es Salaam is the costliest in East Africa.
Renting an 85m² (900 sq ft) room in an expensive area in the city costs up to $2,711 (Sh4.3 million) a month, the highest compared with Nairobi, Kigali and Kampala.
An online survey-based cost of living calculator, expatistan.com, shows that a similar house in expensive areas will cost $1,247 in Nairobi, $1,182 in Kampala and $933 in Kigali.
“Dar es Salaam has a few planned areas which provide access to water, good roads and are less congested. Customers normally compete for a few areas and automatically raise charges in those areas,” says Sultani Mndeme, a real estate consultant with Gimco Africa.
According to him, most Tanzania developers target high-income earners forgetting junior managers and fresh graduates. “I commend the National Housing Corporation and some pension funds for designing low-cost housing schemes for low-income earners and for increasing housing units.”
Developers are happy with high renting charges, claiming that they earn up to 28 per cent return on investment from the properties.
Real estate and business services grew at 5.3 per cent between July and September 2013. That was attributed to an increase in the demand of accommodation and business services.
“Tanzania has a few developers and the situation has an impact on the economies of scale. For example, if 100 housing units are constructed by one developer they will cost slightly cheaper than the same houses constructed by say 100 individual developers,” says Mr Mndeme.
On the food aspect, Kigali has the highest cost of combo meal in fast food restaurants (Big Mac Meal or similar) at an average of $12 while the same food is available at an average of $7 in Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and Kampala.
Kampala has the highest price of bread for two people for one day.
It costs $1.05 while a similar food is sold at $0.95 in Dar es Salaam, $0.63 in Kigali and $0.62 in Nairobi, the survey shows.
The price of a pair of shoes costs an average of $88 in the city centre of Kigali, $76 in Dar es Salaam, $54Kampala and $53 Nairobi.
Taking public transport is the highest in Kampala as a monthly ticket costs an average of $77, followed by Nairobi at $46, Dar es Salaam at $35 and $15 in Kigali.
However, taxi transport is the most expensive in Nairobi. For instance, a taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff for 8km costs the average of $23 in Nairobi, $18 in Dar es Salaam and $14 in Kampala. Data for Kigali was not available on this.
On personal care, Kigali has the highest shaving cost as a standard men’s haircut in expat area of the city charges $15 while it is $9 in both Dar es Salaam and Nairobi and $8 in Kampala.
Entertainment is also the most expensive in Kampala. For instance, two tickets to the movies cost $16 in Kampala followed by Nairobi at $14, Dar es Salaam at $12 and the lowest in Kigali at $10.