Cost of Living in Baku Azerbaijan: A Hidden Gem

Photo of People Walking Near Building

Baku Azerbaijan might not be the first thing that pops into your head when you are thinking about a place to retire but it is one of Asia’s hidden gems. It has plenty of activities and things to do from great museums to pristine blue watered beaches. 

Here are the common questions about living and retiring in Baku:

  • Is Baku a good place to live?
  • How much do you need to live in Baku?
  • Is food cheap in Baku?
  • Can foreigners buy a house in Azerbaijan?
  • Is Baku safe to live in?
  • What is healthcare like in Azerbaijan?
  • How much do homes cost in Baku?

Now let’s answer these questions to determine whether Baku is the right city for you

Is Baku a good place to live?

Population: 2.3 million
Language: Azerbaijani (closely related to Turkic)
Currency: Azerbaijan Manat

Baku is the Republic of Azerbaijan’s capital and is located on the southern coast of the Absheron peninsula, on the Caspian Sea. It has a total of  million people and occupies an area of 2,200 square kilometers.

The fact that Baku has a much lowest cost of living then most of the cities in the USA which is a reason for its popularity. Some districts of Baku have a lovely mixture of eastern and western culture which is a delight to explore for both residents and tourists. 

The medieval city, palaces and the sandstone castle add to the cultural heritage while the modern downtown with its seaside area, cafes and movies provide the more modern vibe. The city has a diverse transportation network including buses, trams, trolley-buses, and an underground metro system. Baku’s public transportation is quite clean, spacious, efficient, and safe.

How much do you need to live in Baku?

Baku is 69% less expensive for living expenses than New York or any other big cities in the USA. Rent in Baku is 90% lower than in New York. To cover your expenditures in Baku you’ll need at least $564 USD every month for a 1 bed unit and your living expenses for a single or slightly more for a couple. 

Here’s a step by step breakdown of the retirement cost for Baku:

Rent for a 3 Bedroom House$640 USD / 1,088 Manat
Rent for a 1 Bedroom Flat$307 USD / 522 Manat
Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Rates)$50 USD / 85 Manat
Internet$15 USD / 25 Manat
Maid Service $90 USD / 153 Manat
Groceries$126 USD / 44 Manat
Dining Out (2 people) For 4 times$37 USD / 63 Manat
Fitness or Social Club Membership$39 USD / 66 Manat
TOTAL MONTHLY EXPENSES (1 bed)$664 USD/ 1128 Manat
TOTAL MONTHLY EXPENSES (3 bed)$997 USD/ 1,695 Manat

NOTE: These rental costs are based on the city center in Baku. You can save a lot more if you prefer to stay outside the city center and the beaches.

What Is Healthcare Like In Azerbaijan?

The Minister of Healthcare controls healthcare in Azerbaijan and it has both a public and private healthcare system. The government runs public hospitals and medical treatment is provided free of charge to Azerbaijanis and permanent residents. Baku is home to the majority of specialist clinics and hospitals in the country.

The public health system in Baku provides a wide range of services but it is recommended that you only use them for basic healthcare requirements. If you may need more specialized care it is advised to get private medical insurance instead of relying on the public system alone.

Private medical facilities provide much higher quality care including advanced equipment and well-trained staff. As a result the majority of expats in Azerbaijan prefer to use private clinics instead.  They also have as part of their private medical insurance medical evacuation which normally comes standard but always check your policy has it in case you have a rare complication.

The private health care system in Azerbaijan is growing quickly giving expats particularly those in Baku more health-care options. Private insurance will start from $199 USD a month with a $1,000 USD deductible for any major surgeries.

Here are some companies that can provide global health insurance for you:

Can foreigners buy a house in Azerbaijan?

Foreigners are allowed to purchase property in Azerbaijan with the exception of the land it sits on. So this generally means you buy a unit, apartment or condo and a local person owns the land it sits on. You can sell your property just like normal and buy another but will never own the land it sits on.. If you marry a local person or a citizen they can own the land.

These Are A Few Recommended Websites of Real Estates You Can Look Into:

TIP: Some of these websites are in Azerbaijan. If you open the website in google chrome you can use the built in translation to change it to English.

Is Baku safe to live in?

Yes, Baku is safe to live and retire in. Crime in Baku is very low and most of the crime is petty crime with an occasional robbery of drunk expats around the western bars or of those not obeying the basic rules of personal safety. Take reasonable precautions, such as remaining alert, not carrying large sums of money, and not walking alone late at night.

Remember that with all countries you will want to check your local government travel advice for any country before leaving.

LINK: Azerbaijan State Department Travel Advisory

Is food cheap in Baku?

Baku’s food is relatively inexpensive for an oil-rich country. Food costs 63 percent less there than in major US cities such as Houston, Texas. This is something you should think about, and it is one of the key reasons why some foreigners have chosen to live and retire there.

Here is the overview of the average monthly groceries:

Milk1 Liter / 1 quart$4 USD
Bread1 Loaf$0.3 USD
Eggs1 Dozen$1.3 USD
Beef1 kg/ 2.2 pounds$3.4 USD
Chicken Breasts1 kg/ 2.2 pounds$1.6 USD
Beer12$2 USD
Wine1 Liter / 1 quart$6.4 USD

Here is a common local supermarket you can look at for current prices:

LINK: Bravo Supermarket

NOTE: these prices were only valid at the making of this article and check the grocery websites below for current pricing.

How much do homes cost in Baku?

On average an apartment in Baku’s city center costs roughly about $155 USD per square meter, while those outside the city center can cost around $70 USD per square meter. The cost of a home in Baku varies based on the style of home, its location, and all the usual factors like schools and amenities. 

If you want something a little cheaper you can also search on Facebook Marketplace. Change your filter to Baku, then click on Property Rentals or House Sales. Keep in mind that all prices will be in Azerbaijan Manat (AZN). When buying direct from the owner, always engage a local lawyer to ensure the paperwork is in order.

Foreigners must get into a notary-certified sale-purchase agreement with the owner and register their ownership rights with the relevant state agency in order to become owners of any property in Azerbaijan. As a result, as a new owner of real estate a foreigner must receive his or her title document (extracted from the register of immovable property). 

With low state fees this process could take up to 20 days. Buying and certifying your ownership rights can be very complicated in some situations especially with newly built apartment houses so again make sure you get a property lawyer to help you with the transaction.

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