Cost of Living in India



The cost of living in India can be high, especially in Mumbai where the property market ranks fourth most expensive in the world, followed closely by New Delhi. However, most expats find the country a worthy new home with its booming economy.

Those who come to India via intra-company transfers usually enjoy housing allowances and other benefits, thereby easing financial challenges significantly during the first few years of expatriation. But if there are two things Western and European expats find particularly interesting about India they may be its cheap domestic services and a seemingly infinite supply of garden-fresh fruits and vegetables for a few loose coins.

Real Estate

Expats are allowed by law to acquire full ownership of properties provided all necessary documents are turned in. However, real estate in India can be exorbitantly priced and may hit up to RS 700 per square foot, especially in Mumbai and New Delhi.

In Bangalore or Chennai, rentals can reach up to RS 100,000 monthly for a two-bedroom apartment. Tenants usually pay a year's worth of advance rent unless waived by the landlord. 

Home loans are rather pricey with a current rate of 2.5 percent, while financing options may be sought with a 10 percent deposit and about RS 200,000 in monthly amortizations. 

Though real estate and stocks don't come cheap in India, investments can be very rewarding. Aside from owning real estate to call their home, the government permits expats to begin a real estate business in India.


Food is cheap in India and a budget of between RS 15,000 and 20,000 per month is sufficient for an average expat family of four. Dining in fine restaurants is naturally pricier costing from RS 3,000 to RS 4,000 per couple including drinks. Groceries for two amount to RS 10,000 - RS 12,000 per month. 


There are many good schools in India, most of which are based on the British educational system with fees ranging from RS 30,000 to RS 70,000 per school year. Special schools cost between RS 90,000 and RS 200,000 while schools that operate on the International Baccalaureate system have annual fees of between RS 200,00 and 500,00. 

Domestic Staff

Living in India may be costly but expats love the affordability of household services that are typically considered luxurious in their resident countries. Here, one can have a full-time house cleaner for about RS 2500 and a cook for RS 3000. Anyone who does not appreciate sitting behind the wheel in heavy traffic will definitely find a chauffeur indispensable at RS 4000 per month.


Cars in India can be anything from a lowly Beetle to a sleek and flashy BMW. Either way, car loans will put them well within reach for a down payment of 9-15 percent and tenure of up to six years. Gas or petrol costs RS 50 per liter.


The garments market is colorful in India, with urban and traditional trends blending well. Local designers put a premium on quality and design, which explains the hefty price tags that come with their creations. Foreign brands of everything from jeans to underwear are average-priced and immensely popular, especially among expats who appreciate seeing familiar brands.



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