Although expats and citizens of Qatar enjoy the benefits of a tax-free lifestyle, an affordable government healthcare system and subsidized food and fuel, people are feeling the pinch of rising living costs in the country – rents alone are enough to make you gulp.
It’s hard for us newbies in Qatar to imagine the good old days that many long-term residents are often fond of recalling. The days when you could rent a big villa for 10,000 QR or the fact they got a lot more groceries for their money. However, they are right, times have changed, and Doha's quickly becoming an expensive city to live in – a recent cost of living study conducted by Mercer Middle East revealed that Doha has jumped from 99th position to 76th in the world’s most expensive cities to live list in just one year alone.
However, we should be grateful that we’re not residing in Dubai or Abu Dhabi: Dubai is the 21st most expensive city in the world, a rise of two places in comparison to last year, while Abu Dhabi has moved 8 places from 33rd to No. 25.
Talent Mobility Consultant at Mercer Middle East, Rob Thissen, said: “The main reason Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and in fact almost all cities in the Middle East increased in rank, is that their currencies are pegged to the US Dollar, with Riyadh for instance currently rated more expensive than Rome.”
He added: “These rankings uniquely combine day-to-day expenditure on goods and services such as food, clothing and transportation, with rental prices. While prices of most goods and services are considered to be cheaper in Saudi Arabia compared with Europe, it is the expatriate rental market that pushes cities like Riyadh and Jeddah up the ranking.” He also added: “What this means is that once again, cities in our region have become more expensive to send people to, with expatriates expecting increased cost of living and housing allowances.”
So where in the world would you be forking out more for living costs? You’ve got it: the Asia Pacific region. Hong Kong ranks in at No. 1, Singapore is 4th, Tokyo 5th, Shanghai 7th and Beijing 10th.
Are you a long- term resident of Qatar and noticed how much more your daily expenses have increased? We’d love to hear your story.
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