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Tue 26 Jun 2018 12:17 PM

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Drop in Dubai cost of living for expats, global survey says

Riyadh has seen costs rise due to subsidy cuts and VAT

Drop in Dubai cost of living for expats, global survey says
Rent for a two-bedroom apartment costs an average $2,995 in Dubai, but is much higher in New York and London at $5,700 and $4,335 respectively.

Dubai’s cost of living ranking for expats has dropped from the 19th to the 26th most expensive country on the annual 'Cost of Living' survey by global consultancy Mercer.

Rent for a two-bedroom apartment costs an average $2,995 in Dubai, but is much higher in New York and London at $5,700 and $4,335 respectively.

Despite the drop in its cost of living, however, Dubai remains the most expensive city in the Middle East. It is followed by Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Beirut, according to the survey conducted in March 2018.

Impact of dollar, VAT

It revealed one of the reasons behind the decrease is the depreciation of the US dollar and UAE dirham, versus major currencies, in the last 12 months.

Another reason is falling rent prices, though Middle Eastern cities such as Riyadh have seen costs rise due to subsidy cuts and VAT. The Saudi capital moved up the ranking from 52nd to 45th place.

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The change in Dubai’s ranking, however, means the city continue to be attractive for expats, according to Rob Thissen, senior associate at Mercer Dubai.

“As a result of the lower cost of living in comparison to several other major cities, the UAE consistently attracts top talent from around the world, which allows for further economic growth and innovation,” he said.

Thissen added that global organisations are increasingly realising the importance of a mobile workforce to effectively deploy talent, with the cost of living being an essential aspect in assessing expat remuneration packages.

The survey revealed the world’s highest cost of living is in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich, Singapore, Seoul, Luanda, Shanghai, Ndjamena, Beijin and Bern.