Doha, Dubai most expensive Middle Eastern cities for expats

A new index finds that the cities are among the most expensive worldwide for beer and wine



Qatari capital Doha has been ranked as the most expensive city in the Middle East and the 12th priciest worldwide for expatriates, according to a new global index.

The 2015 cost of living index by Expatistan.com, which measured costs related to food, housing, clothes, transportation, personal care and entertainment, found that F&B costs in particular were extremely high in Doha.

The city has the world’s most expensive domestic beer available in supermarkets, with a 0.5 litre can costing QAR 21 ($5.8), while a cocktail drink in a downtown club costs QAR 133 – the third highest in the world.

Doha also had the third highest cost globally for an 8MB monthly internet connection at QAR 294, the index found.

Housing was also a major factor – the monthly rent for a 480 sq ft furnished studio in a regular area in Doha was found to be QAR 5,665, 78 per cent higher than Mumbai.

Meanwhile the second most expensive city in the Middle East for expats was found to be Dubai, which ranked 26 on the global list.

The emirate was found to have the most expensive good quality red table wine in the world at Dhs 104 while residents also paid the highest worldwide for a pint (500ml) of beer in a neighbourhood pub at Dhs 42.

A 900 sq ft furnished accommodation in an expensive area in Dubai costs Dhs 8,466 per month, 29 per cent higher than Beirut, although 13 per cent lower than Los Angeles, the index found.

Similar to Doha, internet costs in Dubai were found to be among the highest in the world with an 8MB connection per month priced at Dhs 294 – 60 per cent higher than Singapore.

The index, which calculated average prices in 1,958 cities across 200 countries, found that Grand Cayman had the highest living costs globally, with Zurich and London ranking second and third respectively.

Geneva and Washington DC were ranked as the fourth and fifth most expensive cities for expatriates worldwide.

In the Middle East, Abu Dhabi, Tel Aviv and Beirut made up the top five on the list.

A recent survey research firm Mercer also found that Dubai and Abu Dhabi were the 23rd and 33rd most expensive cities worldwide to live in.

The annual survey found that the rankings of the two cities shot up significantly from the previous year, indicating a steep growth in living costs.

Dubai moved up 44 places from the 67th position last year while Abu Dhabi went up 35 places from its 68th position in the 2014 list.