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The difference between perception and reality – a lesson from Dubai’s inflation statistics

Dubai property market

We’re a fickle bunch, and we tend to dismiss information sources which we think don’t paint the whole picture no matter if they’re right or wrong.


April 7, 2013 10:25 by

“It just seems as though I’m always paying more and more every time I go out,” said Saeed Khan, from the UK.

“The figures might show a slight decrease in inflation for clothes but then it doesn’t really balance out because of the increases elsewhere.

“I never feel as though my bills are getting cheaper, for example.”

Let’s jump forward a day after the article was published, from April 1st to April 2nd. This time, we have another story from the day’s Gulf News. It’s entitled “Dubai rents go up further by 3 to 4%” and includes opinions from real estate firms Asteco, Cluttons and Better Homes.

Asteco’s own report showed a 19 percent annual increase for apartment rents and 21 percent for villas. The radio station Dubai Eye hosted an interview that same evening on the subject of rent increases, and again it’s worth a listen.

As consumers we’re bombarded with information on a daily basis. We’re a fickle bunch, and we tend to dismiss information sources which we think don’t paint the whole picture no matter if they’re right or wrong. Each person’s perception is their own reality, and we’ll often ignore information – no matter how accurate that information may be – which we think is at odds with that perception unless it comes from a trusted source.

I wonder what happened to reader trust in the rest of The National’s initial inflation piece when they came across the extraordinary negative inflation finding for the city’s rental rates.

As for myself, I trust my landlord’s actions and what’s printed on the annual rent letter. I’m sure you’ll do the same when you open up that envelope. And when you do, please pause to think about that infamous quotation from Mark Twain and ask yourself how beguiling you find your perception when compared to the region’s statistical realities.

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