The Gulf News on Monday said unmarried Asian men in Dubai were living in their cars after finding more conventional habitats beyond their financial reach.

"At first I found it a bit weird to spend the night in my car but now I am used to it. I have been living like this for five weeks now," said Subhash Dholakia, who works in sales.

An oil-driven real estate boom is pushing rents higher in the UAE by up to 50% each year, with an average one-bedroom apartment in Dubai costing around 56,000 ($15,250) dirhams annually.

Other living costs such as schooling, food, utilities and leisure are also climbing sharply, while salaries rose just 6.5% on average in the year to August 2005.

"At first I found it a bit weird to spend the night in my car but now I am used to it. I have been living like this for five weeks now"

Subhash Dholakia,
salesman

The men pay 50 to 70 dirhams ($13.61-$19.06) to tenants who let them use their bathrooms and ironing boards and provide luggage space.

"I get up as early as 5am and make use of all the house facilities," said Dilip Sen, an Indian secretary.

"I then head for breakfast in a nearby cafeteria.

The men said they never parked in the same area twice, for fear of being rounded up by police.

Foreign labourers, mainly from the Asian subcontinent, make up around 85% of the UAE's four million population.