By Rob Corder
The Arabianbusiness.com Cost of Luxury Living Index reveals the soaring price of privilege in the UAE.
The cost of living for wealthy residents of the UAE has increased by 22.4 percent, according to Arabianbusiness.com research.
The Arabianbusiness.com Cost of Luxury Living Index, which will be updated every six months, tracks a basket of goods and services including a meal at a fine dining restaurant, a sports car and first class air travel.
Prices for the first Index were analysed from October 2006-2007 and found that the average price tag for luxury items has soared.
The greatest increase was registered in real estate. A much sought after 7000 square foot Palm Jumeirah Signature Villa sold by Dubai Property Centre was found to have increased in price from $3.4 million last year to a whopping $6.5 million today - a 92 percent rise.
A meal for two at Verre, a restaurant run by award winning British chef Gordon Ramsey, increased in price by 25 percent from $218 to $272 by Time Out Dubai.
Even the cost of a breast enlargement operation - an increasingly popular procedure among the UAE's ladies who lunch - is ballooning. Dr. Jaffer Khan, a leading Dubai-based plastic surgeon has hiked prices by over 10 percent from $5313 to $5858.
But it is not all bad news for the privileged. Luxury air travel has fallen in price. A first class return to New York with Emirates Airlines has dropped by three percent from $6907 to $6700 in the past 12 months.
It is also clear that the old adage of money attracting money stands true in the UAE. It is only the wealthy that would have bought a Palm Island villa at $3.4 million a year ago, and would now be banking a cool $3.1 million profit if they sold it today.
And if that property price increase is removed from the Cost of Luxury Living Index, it appears that inflation for the rich is lower than for the masses.
Excluding property, the average increase for the Index falls to only 10.7 percent - lower than the 15 percent inflation that experts believe is affecting the average citizen in the UAE.