With reporting from Ankita Menon
A comparison of like-for-like costs across the GCC has found that Qatar is the most expensive place to live in the region, Arabian Business reports.
The analysis, compiled by Dubai-based company the Cost of Living Reports (CLR), concluded that Qatar puts the most strain on the wallets of its residents overall, followed by the UAE, Saudi, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.
It compares costs on a variety of living expenses, including housing and car rental rates, gym membership fees, doctor visits, health insurance, school fees and the price of food and utilities.
A steep increase in the cost of renting a home in Qatar in recent years seems to have propelled Qatar to the top of the index.
The report puts the cost of renting an upmarket two bedroom apartment in Doha at the end of last year at $42,930 a year (around QR13,000 a month.) This is $15,540 more than in the UAE, the second most expensive location for rental in the region.
Although that average rental price appears to reflect a comparison of upscale housing options, a series of reports and surveys have continued to show that rent increases are affecting all sectors of Qatar society.
Over the past few years, residents have been complaining that housing allowances in Qatar are not keeping pace with the rental rises, and some have begun moving out of Doha into surrounding areas with more affordable homes.
Car hire costs
Qatar is also a very expensive place to rent a car. The report puts the cost of hiring a small SUV here at $2,773 per month – almost double the cost for the same vehicle in the UAE, and the most expensive in the region, CLR found.
However, the prices may be lower than that – Avis, Hertz and Al Muftah have told Doha News that the average monthly rental rate for a small SUV runs from $932 (QR3,400) to $1,917 (QR7,000).
Qatar was also found to be the second most expensive place (behind the UAE) to see a private family doctor in the region, at $54 (QR197) an appointment.
However, Qatar scores relatively well in other areas of the report. It was found to be the cheapest place to buy a basket of 21 daily grocery items, at $56.19. Bahrain was found to be the most expensive at $88.80, followed by Kuwait ($83.68), Oman ($74.28), Saudi ($61.85), UAE ($61.32).
Cost of living index
Meanwhile, recently released figures show that the cost of living in Qatar continued to rise in December 2013, up 2.7 percent compared to the same month in 2012.
Here too, accommodation costs are putting pressure on the statistics. When rent, and the cost of energy aren’t taken into consideration, the figure is almost a percentage point lower at just 1.9 percent, QSA states.
However, costs are rising across the board. In a year-on-year comparison, the following increases were also noted:
- Entertainment, Recreation & Culture – up by 5.2 percent;
- Furniture, Textiles & Home Appliances – up by 4.0 percent; and
- Food, Beverages & tobacco – up by 3.1 percent.
Qatar also was found to have the most expensive ICT costs in the Gulf last year, according to a recently released United Nations report.
Are you being affected by the price rises? Thoughts?