Image Credit: Balaram Menon/Gulf News

Dubai: The rental declines over the last 12 months are starting to pay off for Dubai’s residents.

A global survey by the consultancy Mercer finds that cost of living has come down, thus ensuring Dubai drops to the 26th spot from 19 in the list of most expensive cities.

But when compared to other cities within the region, Dubai is still costlier.

“Given that rental prices are a significant factor in cost of living for expats in particular, the overall cost of living decreases as well,” the report finds.

Dubai still lower than New York, London

“Rent for a two-bedroom apartment of international standards costs an average of $2,995 in Dubai, while it costs an average of $5,700 in New York and $4,335 in London,” the Mercer report notes.

“One litre of gasoline in Dubai costs $0.61 while it costs $0.70 in New York and $1.65 in London.”

The cost declines elsewhere have also managed to offset the introduction of VAT earlier this year.

Hong Kong is the costliest city in the world for expats, followed by Tokyo and Zurich, while Singapore places fourth.


Another factor that has helped Dubai’s cause is the “depreciation of the dollar and dirham versus several major currencies the last 12 months.”

The findings carry clout when it comes to global businesses deciding where to base their regional operations and what sort of headcount they ought to have there.

According to Rob Thissen, Senior Associate at Mercer in Dubai and responsible for Global Talent Mobility Services, “Given the decreased relative cost of living in Dubai compared to other cities, the UAE continues to be an attractive country for expat employees.”

The only country in the Middle East that has bucked the cost of living decline is Saudi Arabia, where subsidy cuts and have had an impact “to such an extent that Riyadh has moved up the ranking from the 52nd to the 45th spot”.