Register for our free newsletter

Latest News

Dubai at 55, Abu Dhabi at 50: Where’s the most expensive city to live?

Mercer’s worldwide Cost of Living survey is out.

June 29, 2010 3:30 by

Wondering where the least expensive city to live in is? That would be Karachi, according to the latest Mercer study.

The HR consulting firm has released its latest Cost of Living study, reports, and the good news according to them is that, thanks to falling accommodation costs, Abu Dhabi and Dubai remain “relatively affordable cities in which to live.”

If by “relatively affordable,” you mean “relatively expensive,” of course. Dubai ranked as the 55th most expensive city for expatriates, tying with Los Angeles. But Abu Dhabi expats are worse off – the UAE’s capital city is the 50th most expensive city in which to live. It ties with Frankfurt, but is the most expensive city in the Middle East.

Other cities across the GCC were ranked as follows: Manama, Bahrain (139), Riyadh, KSA (144), Doha, Qatar (146), Kuwait City, Kuwait (152), Muscat, Oman (176), and Jeddah, KSA (181).

The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. All cities are compared against New York as the base city for the index. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The cost of housing – often the biggest expense for expats – plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked.

For the first time, the ranking of the world’s top 10 most expensive cities includes three African urban centres: Luanda (1) in Angola, Ndjamena (3) in Chad and Libreville (7) in Gabon. The top ten also includes three Asian cities; Tokyo (2), Osaka (6) and Hong Kong (jointly ranked 8). Moscow (4), Geneva (5) and Zurich (joint 8) are the most expensive European cities, followed by Copenhagen (10).

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Ahmad Alghazi on June 29, 2010 6:31 pm

    I really dont understand how these consulting companies release research reports without considering the actuals and facts. I am living in Dubai since the stone age now and I know how asian cities like Karachi or New Delhi or Mumbai may compare to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, definitely not being more expensive than the former. Having said that, I am also from a 54 year old consulting company and I think its misleading to issue such statements and reports without any facts.

  2. Huda on June 30, 2010 9:23 am

    Iam curious to know what is the number 1 Arab city. Could it be Amman – Jordan for the 3rd year in a row?

  3. Remi on June 30, 2010 12:36 pm

    Iam from Dubai and iI could experience that due to global financial crisis and over supply , the rents in dubai come down by average 40%. I should say that Dubai is one of the most affordable cities in world now by considering the infrastructure and other facilities available in Dubai. Many of the poeple who are working in Dubai and staying outside Dubai due to high rents are now started to demegrate to Dubai

  4. Miss Anne Thropic on July 1, 2010 9:13 am

    Abu Dhabi rents are slowly starting to come down but there are still plenty of unscrupulous landlords charging a fortune for overpriced hovels, illegal conversions and places that are just plain dangerous. I moved out of one such place a month before the lease ended after the AC caught fire.

    I didn’t get my deposit back or the last month’s rent or the cash I’d spent myself on getting things fixed because the maintenance man was useless. I was robbed Dh15,000 from those thieves. This sort of nonsense will continue for some time yet, I fear.


Leave a Comment