x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE named the most expensive place to live for expats in the GCC

Living costs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have declined, with both cities sliding down a global index of the most expensive cities for expatriates, but they still rank high in the GCC.

Living costs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have declined, with both cities sliding down a global index of the most expensive cities for expatriates, but they still rank high in the GCC. Ryan Carter / The National
Living costs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have declined, with both cities sliding down a global index of the most expensive cities for expatriates, but they still rank high in the GCC. Ryan Carter / The National

Falling accommodation costs mean Abu Dhabi and Dubai have both dropped sharply in an index of the world's most expensive cities for expatriates but they still dominate the rankings here in the GCC region.

Abu Dhabi has slipped to 67th from 50th last year in the worldwide cost of living survey. Dubai is ranked as the 81st most expensive city, dropping 26 places compared to last year.

That still ranks the two emirates as more expensive to live in for expats than Riyadh, KSA (135), Manama, Bahrain (157), Kuwait City, Kuwait (159 ), Doha Qatar (164), Muscat, Oman (184) and Jeddah KSA (185)

"For organisations looking at places to do business in, the region is becoming more stable at a potentially lower cost," said Callum Burns-Green, the head of Middle East operations at HR consultancy Mercer, which produced the survey.

The survey offers an insight into the steep decline in living costs since the global financial crisis struck. In the same survey in 2009, Abu Dhabi was ranked as the 26th most expensive city, with Dubai the 20th most costly.

Since then property market rental costs, which typically account for the largest expatriates' expense, have nosedived by more than half from their peaks. A retreat by foreign investors and an over supply of units have hastened declines.

Globally, Luanda in Angola was found to be the costliest city, with Karachi in Pakistan ranking as the cheapest, the survey found.