Beirut topped the list of the most expensive cities in the region to live in, ranking also 57th among 598 cities around the world, according to Lebanon This Week, an economic research publication of Byblos Bank Group.
The cost of living Index, produced by the crowd-sourced global-data base, showed Beirut ranked 57, followed by Dubai (262), Doha (288), Abu Dhabi (312), Manama (318), Ajman (336), Amman (338), Riyadh (343), Sharjah (345), Muscat (350), Jeddah (353), and all the way down to Cairo (501), Tunis (507), Algiers (533) and Alexandria (551).
According to the research, the cost of living in Beirut is more expensive than living in Jersey city in the United States, the Gold Coast in Australia, and Breda in the Netherlands.
To Lebanese residents, the statistics do not come as a surprise.
The prices of goods at stores in Lebanon have increased tremendously, with some products almost doubling in price as the economic crisis continues to worsen, with the value of the Lebanese lira spiraling down.
During the time between October 17th, 2019, and May 29th, 2020, prices in Lebanon have increased by over 70%.
Imported food that accounts for around 80 percent of Lebanon’s food supply and locally produced products are both subject to inflation, though unevenly. In July 2020, the inflation rate exceeded 50% over a period of 30 consecutive days.
As the lira continues to sink, Lebanese have lost most of their purchasing power, and poverty and hunger struck the crisis-hit country.
While Lebanon is reeling under the worst financial crisis since the 1975-90 civil war, Lebanese banks imposed severe controls on cash withdrawals and money transfers, making it even more difficult for depositors to continue living in Beirut.
Thus, some bank depositors managed to strategically squeeze out whatever they can from their accounts, resulting in a rise in Lebanon’s real estate sector.
The same Byblos Bank research reported that 82,202 real estate transactions took place in 2020 across the country, constituting an increase of 63.3 percent from 50,352 deals in 2019.