ABU DHABI // After Qatar, the UAE is the second most expensive country in the Gulf to live, a price comparison survey had found.
According to Numbeo’s global survey, which measured the cost of living in 119 countries, Oman is the cheapest place in the region to live.
Numbeo claims to be the largest database of user contributed information about cities and countries across the world.
The difference in living costs between countries based on the price of groceries, rent, transport, eating out and utilities.
Numbeo, as per the January 29 update, the UAE survey is based on 3,940 entries in the past 18 months from 647 different contributors.
Using the base score of 100, the consumer price index is a relative indicator of country’s living costs compared to New York.
For example, if the rent index is 120, it means rents are of an average 20 per cent more expensive than in New York.
The index claims grocery prices in the UAE are 40 per cent lower than New York, but are still the third highest in the region after Kuwait and Qatar.
Similarly the local purchasing power is higher than New York and fourth highest in the region after Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman. In Bahrain and Kuwait, people have least purchasing power compared to other countries in the region.
In the UAE, Numbeo says that Dubai has the highest consumer price index as compared to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Similarly, Dubai is the most expensive city to live in the country.
Abu Dhabi is the least expensive city as compared to Dubai and Sharjah when it comes to grocery shopping. Also, people of Abu Dhabi have the highest purchasing power as compared to the other two cities of the country.
Arshad Khan, an Indian businessman who now lives in Bahrain, believed the UAE was much more expensive than his present home.
“The main factors in cost of living for a family are house rent, school fees and food items. On these counts Bahrain is cheaper,” said Mr Khan, 40, who has lived in Dubai before moving to Bahrain five years ago.
Mr Khan, however, prefers the UAE over Bahrain in terms of better choices and a more cosmopolitan feel.
“In terms of quality of living, both places have their advantages and disadvantages. Dubai has busier life so you don’t get to spend so much time with your family. Bahrain is a very small place with fewer options for your family to go around or for entertainment on weekends,” he said.
Mr Khan said another issue in Bahrain is quality of education. “The choice of schools in Bahrain is very limited and hence getting seat of your choice is difficult. There are lots of options available now in UAE and quality of most of them is very much acceptable.”
Seema Sangra, an Indian social entrepreneur, who spent two years in Oman before moving to the Dubai, also found UAE more expensive to live, mainly because of rent.
She said her rent for her three-bedroom villa in Oman was about half of the Dh8,500 she pays for a two-bedroom apartment in Dubai.
Dining out was also cheaper in Oman but “grocery and other expenditures are more or less the same,” she said.
“I still prefer to be in the UAE as it is more vibrant and, as a woman, I feel more secure. There is something in Dubai, which grows on you,” she said.