Expat Cost of Living: How affordable are Dubai, Abu Dhabi? - Emirates24|7

Expat Cost of Living: How affordable are Dubai, Abu Dhabi?

According to Mercer’s 2015 Cost of Living Survey, Dubai is the 23rd most expensive city in the world in 2015. (Shutterstock)

A new global report shows annual increase in cost of living over the last year rose steeply in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

According to Mercer’s 2015 Cost of Living Survey, Dubai is the 23rd most expensive city in the world in 2015 (from a rank of 67 last year).

Only Buenos Aires has seen a steeper rise in rankings – the Argentinian capital rose 67 slots to land at #19, entering the Top 20 most expensive cities for the first time this year.

UAE capital Abu Dhabi, too, became more expensive since last year – moving from #68 in 2014 to #33 in 2015.

Nevertheless, both UAE cities remain considerably cheaper than other expat hotspots such as Hong Kong, Zurich, Singapore, Geneva, Tokyo, London and New York, among several others.

A strong dollar and increasing demand for housing have been cited as primary reasons for increased cost of living in the two UAE cities.

“Many currencies in the Middle East are pegged to the US dollar, which pushed the cities up in the ranking.

"Steep increase for expatriate rental accommodations particularly in Abu Dhabi and Dubai also contributed to the increase of the cities in the ranking,” states the survey.

The Mercer survey ranks 207 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Within the Middle East, the only other city ranked among the Top 50 most expensive cities in the world is Beirut, which is ranked #44.

Amman in Jordan is ranked #54, followed by Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh (#71), Bahrain’s Manama (#91), Oman’s Muscat and Kuwait’s Kuwait City (both #117), Egypt’s Cairo (#120).

Jeddah (#151) continues to be the least expensive city in the region despite rising 24 places in ranking.

The survey shows Hong Kong (#2), Zurich (#3), Singapore (#4), and Geneva (#5) top the list of most expensive cities for expatriates.

The costliest city for the third consecutive year is Luanda (#1), the capital of Angola.

Despite being recognised as a relatively inexpensive city, the cost of imported goods and safe living conditions in this country are available at a steep price, the survey notes.

Other cities appearing on the Top 10 of Mercer’s costliest cities for expatriates are Shanghai (#6), Beijing (#7), and Seoul (#8) in Asia; Bern (#9); and N’Djamena (#10).

The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates, according to Mercer’s survey, are Bishkek (#207), Windhoek (#206), and Karachi (#205).

Mercer's survey uses New York as the base city, and all cities are compared against it. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

 

Mercer Cost of Living Survey – Worldwide Rankings 2015

(Mercer international basket, including rental accommodation costs)

Rank as of March

City

Country

2014

2015

1

1

Luanda

Angola

3

2

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

5

3

Zurich

Switzerland

4

4

Singapore

Singapore

6

5

Geneva

Switzerland

10

6

Shanghai

China

11

7

Beijing

China

14

8

Seoul

South Korea

8

9

Bern

Switzerland

2

10

N'Djamena

Chad

7

11

Tokyo

Japan

12

12

London

United Kingdom

20

13

Kinshasa

Congo, Democratic Republic of

17

14

Shenzhen

China

24

15

Guangzhou

China

16

16

New York City

United States

13

17

Victoria

Seychelles

 

 

 

 

86

19

Buenos Aires

Argentina

25

20

Lagos

Nigeria

54

21

Shenyang

China

34

22

Conakry

Guinea

67

23

Dubai

United Arab Emirates

15

24

Copenhagen

Denmark

48

24

Qingdao

China

47

26

Nanjing

China

50

27

Tianjin

China

66

28

Yangon

Myanmar

71

29

Chengdu

China

19

30

Libreville

Gabon

26

31

Sydney

Australia

23

32

Osaka

Japan

68

33

Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates

46

33

Baku

Azerbaijan

36

35

Abuja

Nigeria

62

36

Los Angeles

United States

74

37

San Francisco

United States

20

38

Oslo

Norway

22

39

Noumea

New Caledonia

49

40

Sao Paulo

Brazil

61

41

Taipei

Taiwan

85

42

Chicago

United States

28

42

Brazzaville

Congo, Republic of

63

44

Beirut

Lebanon

88

45

Bangkok

Thailand

27

46

Paris

France

33

47

Melbourne

Australia

37

48

Perth

Australia

51

49

Dublin

Ireland

92

50

Washington, D.C.

United States

 

 (Image via Shutterstock)

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