How affordable are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah: Index reveals costliest cities to live in 2024

This comes despite an increase in rents, cost of groceries and dining out

by

Waheed Abbas

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Photo: KT file
Photo: KT file

Published: Sun 28 Jan 2024, 11:49 AM

Last updated: Mon 29 Jan 2024, 3:38 PM

Despite an increase in cost of living in the past couple of years, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah have been deemed more affordable than other major cities in Asia, Europe and the US, according to data released by Numbeo, a global data provider on economic, social and safety areas.

The cost of living in the three emirates ranks much lower than that of Zurich, Geneva, New York, Los Angeles, Oslo, Singapore, London, Adelaide, Sydney, Auckland, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, Milan, Vienna, Montreal, Frankfurt and many others.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah are ranked at 142, 156 and 202 in the latest cost of living index for 2024.

Among the 10 costliest places to live in, Swiss cities dominate, led by Zurich, Basel, Lausanne, Geneva and Bern. Hamilton (Bermuda) stays at the top ranking as the most expensive city to live in.

Asian cities Thiruvananthapuram, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Kozhikode, Bhopal and Bishkek are the most affordable cities on the list.

Numbeo data showed that the cost of living in three emirates increased for the second consecutive time in 2023. Dubai’s ranking in the cost of living index increased from 182 in 2023 to 142 in 2024, Abu Dhabi’s rose from 266 in 2023 to 156 in 2024; and Sharjah’s ranking jumped from 319 in 2023 to 202 in 2024.

In 2022, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah were ranked 276, 309, and 361, respectively.

The key reasons for increase were attributed to rise in rents, grocery prices and the costs of dining out.

In the rental index, Dubai moved up from 53 position in 2023 to 29 in 2024, and the UAE Capital jumped from 70 to 41. Rentals in the UAE’s major emirates have been rising consecutively since the pandemic due to the increased flow of foreign workers into the country.

Rents have increased at a double-digit rate for the past consecutive years. In 2023, soaring demand for rental properties continued to push rental prices skyward, transforming the landscape for landlords and tenants alike in the emirate of Dubai. Real estate brokerage Allsopp & Allsopp saw a 65 per cent increase in new rental client registrations, generating a staggering 147 per cent increase in rental viewings as demand reached a fever pitch across the market.

Similarly, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah moved higher in the grocery index due to an increase in the cost of consumer goods in the country.

According to Dubai Statistics Centre, the consumer price index rose from 106.09 points in January 2023 to 110.2 in December, driven by transport; recreation, sports and culture; housing and utility services; insurance and financial and other sectors.

In terms of dining, Dubai has been rated one of the world’s top 10 cities for foodies in 2023. The emirate ranked second worldwide in terms of restaurant density.

Cost of living

CityRanking in 2023Ranking in 2024
Dubai182142
Abu Dhabi266156
Sharjah319202

Groceries

CityRanking in 2023Ranking in 2024
Dubai254182
Abu Dhabi284208
Sharjah 357 265

Rent

CityRanking in 2023Ranking in 2024
Dubai5329
Abu Dhabi7041

Dining out

CityRanking in 2023Ranking in 2024
Dubai26685
Abu Dhabi182125
Sharjah319 235

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