Doha’s high rents push it to 10th most expensive city in global index

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Jun Ong/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Doha is the world’s 10th most expensive city in which to rent a home, putting it ahead of cities such as Singapore, Zurich and Washington DC, according to figures in a new global cost of living index.

The mid-year cost of living index by Numbeo, which runs an international database based on user-contributed information, ranked Doha in 205th spot globally for its overall living costs, with a score of 71.18 for its consumer price index (CPI).

This is based on the price of a “basket” of common goods and services such as groceries, fuel, clothing and dining out. The main CPI figure in this index does not include rent, which is calculated as a separate score. For CPI plus rent, Doha scored even higher, with a rating of 73.46.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Lesley Walker

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The numbers in the index relate all cities to New York City, which has been given a base score of 100. So the cost of daily living plus rent in Doha is equivalent to 73 percent of the same costs in NYC.

Doha’s figures include 1,236 entries over 18 months from 174 contributors who submitted costs for all their regular outgoings.

The score puts Qatar’s capital ahead of other Gulf cities such as Dubai, which came in 212th place internationally, Bahrain (269), Abu Dhabi (278) and Muscat (283) out of the 517 assessed cities.

World rankings

Hamilton, Bermuda was rated as the world’s most expensive city for daily living costs, with a CPI figure of 152.67. Seven of the top 10 cities were in Switzerland, while the Norwegian cities of Stavanger and Tromso came in at 7th and 9th places respectively.

London placed 18th, San Francisco 19th, New York City 20th and Perth in Australia 23rd overall.

In a table of 126 Asian cities, Doha also placed highly, coming in 15th place according to the CPI ranking.

Busan in South Korea was rated the most expensive place in Asia to live followed by Singapore, while other cities included:

  • Dubai, UAE (16);
  • Dammam, Saudi Arabia (18);
  • Abu Dhabi, UAE (28);
  • Sharjah, UAE (30);
  • Muscat, Oman (31);
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (40);
  • Manama, Bahrain (44); and
  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (49);

Qatar costs

For the cost of living in countries as a whole, the index found Switzerland to be the world’s most expensive place to be, followed by Norway then Iceland. The UK came in eighth and the USA in 25th place was just ahead of Qatar, which ranked 27th. The UAE made it to 33rd position globally.

Looking at the individual figures making up Doha’s overall score for cost of living, the price of renting accommodation in the city played a significant role in boosting its position on the table. Numbeo CoL report July 2015- D piechart

An average one bedroom apartment in the city center costs QR8,816 monthly to rent, while rent for a three bedroom apartment in the city center is on average QR15,851, according to Numbeo’s figures.

It also finds that the average Doha resident’s spending on rent makes up more than half (52 percent) of their monthly outgoings.

An average meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Doha works out at QR30, a meal at McDonalds costs QR22, a regular cappuccino works out at QR17, a liter of fresh milk costs QR6.86, a kilo of rice is QR8.44, a summer dress in a high street store such as Zara or H&M costs on average QR252 and a cinema ticket for an internationally-released movie works out at QR35 on average.

This compares to the average monthly disposable salary (worked out after tax, although Qatar does not have income tax) of QR12,163, using the figures quoted in the index.

There are also some interesting comparisons for how prices have been moving over recent years.

Since 2012, the cost of eating out and buying many common groceries has stayed fairly stable or even come down slightly.

However, it won’t surprise many Qatar residents to know that the price of rent has gone up significantly.

Numbeo CoL report July 2015 - D rents

According to Numbeo’s figures, the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city has risen 233 percent, from QR2,645 in 2010 to  the current average of QR8,816.

Rent for a three-bedroom apartment has more than doubled in price since 2010, from QR7,650 to QR15,851, the index shows.

Rental index

As a result, Doha is in the top 10 of the world’s most expensive cities globally when it comes to the cost of renting accommodation.

Monaco comes in first, with a rent index score of 247 on the index – meaning the price of renting accommodation in the city is 247 percent that of New York City. Luanda in Angola is second while San Francisco comes in third.

Mid-year Cost of Living Index 2015 - rent


Mid-year Cost of Living Index 2015 – rent

Doha places 10th globally, just behind London and ahead of the US city of Boston as well as neighboring Dubai, which comes in 14th place, and other world cities usually considered expensive including Singapore, Geneva and Zurich.

According to official national figures, published monthly by Qatar’s Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics, rent in the country has risen by 8.8 percent in the first months of this year.

This is in a large part driven by a continuing influx of expats to the state at the rate of around 200,000 a year, driving up demand for accommodation.

A report by online recruiters published in May found that increases in rent are outstripping salaries in the country. At the time, the firm’s vice-president for sales, Suhail Al-Masri warned employers to “quickly address the widening disparity” between salaries and rising cost of living if they want to continue attracting the top talent.


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