Dubai has been ranked as the 67th most expensive city to live, a report said, adding that it was one of several cities in the region that experienced a jump in their rankings, soaring 23 places from last year’s position at 90.
Abu Dhabi, which has been ranked in the 68th place, experienced a less significant rise of 11 places from number its 2013 placement at 79, according to Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living Survey.
Beirut tops the regional index for the highest rates of living expenditure incurred by expatriates, coming in at number 63. Riyadh raises 11 places to rank at 111th, while Jeddah continues to rank as the least expensive city in the region, being placed at 175.
The reports’ authors say that the cities that have made significant advances up the table have been pushed up by other locations’ decline, as well as the strong increase for expatriate rental accommodation costs – particularly the case with Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
“Dubai is now on a strong economic hub following the global market depression of 2008 and this renewed economic strength is reflected in an increase in accommodation costs, which is the main reason why the city has jumped so many places in Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living Survey,” said Nuno Gomes, principal, Information Solutions Leader Middle East, Mercer.
“The steep rise in rental prices is a phenomenon witnessed over the past 18 months and can be traced to a renewed sense of confidence in the city, particularly in the wake of the Expo 2020 build-up and award. I believe that the situation will stabilise as we start to see more and more of the building projects that have been restarted after being put on hold come on line,” he added.
Most other cities from across the Middle East region have gone up in the 2014 ranking, mainly due to global currency fluctuations. Apart from Dubai, Jeddah is the only other non-capital city in the ranking and is the lowest ranked city from the region.
Mahmoud Ghazi, Information Solutions leader for Saudi Arabia, Mercer said: “Jeddah remains a less explored destination for international assignees and expatriates in general, which makes it very affordable. When it comes to Riyadh, despite its rise of 11 places in the ranking, it still remains a relatively cheap location for expatriates. Most consumer-spending is actually quite affordable when comparing to the rest of the region, such as supermarket or food away from home, but the compound type of accommodation keeps Riyadh’s ranking at a higher level,” he added.