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Tue 29 May 2007 12:22 AM

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Dubai living costs continue to soar

Life in Dubai is becoming increasingly expensive with rents just 13% less than Geneva.

Living costs in Dubai are set to surge for a fourth straight year as demand for accommodation, education and healthcare outpaces supply, according to a report by a Dubai-based recruitment consultancy.

Rental costs for two-bedroom apartments in the Gulf Arab emirate rose as much as 47 % during the last year, with rentals for three-bedroom apartments now $4,000 per month --just 13 % less than the average of the best areas in Geneva, Kershaw Leonard said in a report obtained by Reuters on Monday.

Living costs in the oil producer rose between 15 % and 20 % in each of the last three years, according to the "Cost of Living Dubai Report".

"Life is getting increasingly expensive," Mike Hynes, managing director of Kershaw Leonard, told Reuters in Dubai. "Demand is outpacing supply massively."

Still, apartment rental growth may ease next year as more supply comes on stream, though the cost of renting houses will continue to rise, Hynes said.

The cost of primary education is as much as 28 % higher this year than in 2006, or 59,000 dirhams ($16,070) compared with 46,000 dirhams, according to the report.

The cost of visiting a general practitioner doctor (GP) at two of Dubai's biggest hospitals has more than doubled in the last two years, according to the report.

Health insurance premiums have also risen. Comprehensive health insurance for Dubai with Britain-based BUPA costs 23 % more than a year ago, and is in the same pricing category as Switzerland and Monaco, according to the report.

"The cost to smaller companies in Dubai may rise if they are required to provide cover for their employees and their dependents," Hynes said.

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