Cost of living rating - is it a real reflection on life?
The UAE capital is getting cheaper to live in, according to a high-profile global survey released this week.
The city fell nine places in this year’s ‘most expensive city in the world’ survey, with data from economic analysts Mercer showing it is now the 76th most expensive city in the world.
Dubai, which was the 20th most expensive place in 2009, plunged to 81st in 2010 and dropped to 94th this year.
Lebanese capital Beirut emerged as the most expensive city in the Middle East, ranked at 67 globally.
But what does the rating really mean to Abu Dhabi residents?
Josef Clemens, a UK-born hotel worker, said that accommodation is the crucial indicator. “Rent has definitely come down in the year I’ve been living here. Food is also held down - when you go into some of the supermarkets, you see government banners guaranteeing a low price on some products, so overall it’s been good.”
However, Clemens said that the weak global economy has led to layoffs and pay cuts for some.
“I’m about to renew my contact but we’ve been told we will not get the same salary again,” he added. “Yes, the cost of living is coming down but it’s a tough economy for some people.”
Deborah Baugar, originally from France, has mixed feelings about the report. “I can’t fully make up my mind,” she said. “On one level, you see prices rise - the prices of taxis is really going up this year, a lot of groceries are going up also, and the price of entertainment is rising.
“However, the cost of accommodation has dropped, so this has been a big saving for a lot of people.”
Palestinian Ahmed Suhaya, who grew up in the UAE, said overall rent prices have dropped and fuel prices are about to drop more so he believes it’s a good indicator that the cost of living is falling.
However, he thinks salaries have remained largely unchanged and believes that if the worst of the economic crisis is over rents will start to rise again.
He added: “Unless salaries rise to meet them, this low cost of living might not last long.”
Karachi in Pakistan is the world’s cheapest city to live in, according to the report.
Mercer’s ‘most expensive city in the world’ survey
1 (2 - last year’s ranking) Tokyo, Japan
2 (1) Luanda, Angola
3 (6) Osaka, Japan
4 (4) Moscow, Russia
5 (5) Geneva, Switzerland
67 (75) Beirut, Lebanon
76 (67) Abu Dhabi, UAE
94 (81) Dubai, UAE
113 (85) New Delhi, India
114 (95) Mumbai, India