Are you thinking about relocating to Canada, and you are curious to find out more about the cost of living in Vancouver? As the most populous city in the province of British Columbia, this coastal metropolis has a lot to offer. And since it is continuously among the best cities in the world when it comes to the quality of life (3rd place in 2019), it is no wonder why many want to travel or move there. So before exploring your other options, let’s take a closer look at what the numbers have to say.
Is the Cost of Living in Vancouver Too High?
Lotusland, Vansterdan, Raincouver, Fogcouver, are only some of the nicknames for this cosmopolitan and prosperous place that is not showing any signs of slowing down. Canada was always a favorite among expats due to the excellent quality of life and job opportunities. Even though some places are marked as overly expensive, it is not going to sound so pricey once you start receiving Canadian paychecks. Another good thing is that you do not have to deal with breaking the language barrier or use any tips for learning a new language.
Raincouver is one of those big cities that have a notorious reputation for being pricey. However, as always, the truth is somewhere in the middle. The fact that millions of people want to live there, just like in New York, Los Angeles, or some other expensive city, shows that it is still possible to earn enough money on a monthly basis and get by in this Canadian gem.
When it comes to the cost of living and places that are known as the most expensive in the world for expats, Raincouver is not even in the top ten. Asian towns like Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, and Shanghai, are traditionally at the top of that list. So it is all a matter of perspective. When looking at Canada, Toronto and Raincouver share the first place, but while the former has almost 3 million residents, the latter is a much smaller community, with around 700,000 people.
The Cost of Housing in Vancouver for One Person per Month
When it comes to things you need to know before moving to Canada, the cost of living is at everyone’s first place because balancing finances when moving abroad is a real challenge. But if having the option to swim in the morning and ski in the afternoon is your vision of paradise, you’ll do just fine in Vansterdam.
If you have done your research, you are probably prepared for the high numbers. If not, take a glass of water and add some sugar, just in case, so your dreams about relocation do not collapse the second you see these digits. All jokes aside, this is not a cheap place, but the standard and salaries are also relatively high. Therefore, living your Canadian dream in Vansterdam is not a mission impossible.
If you are looking to purchase a property, there are some things to consider before buying a house abroad. Now might be a good moment because the prices are slightly dropping, and the average selling price is $1.1 million. As expected, the most affordable are one-room studios for around $468,000, and then the numbers go up from there as the number of rooms increases.
Monthly Cost of Housing in Vancouver
Many young people who are just getting on their feet and trying to become independent often choose to live with roommates because it is more budget-friendly. According to Numbeo, the current average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center goes from approximately $1300 to $1800 per month. If you are looking to settle down outside of the center, the expenses are around $300-$400 lower.
Some homeowners have turned their basements into suites and studios, and they are now renting them for the price approximately 30% lower than the average. That is another option if you are moving on a low budget, and you do not have a job waiting for you. It is a great way of saving some money while trying to figure out how to find a job after the relocation.
Monthly Cost of Housing Outside of Vancouver, CA
If you are not determined to live in the core of the city, and you can handle the daily commute and traffic, you can find much more affordable accommodation in small towns just outside of Lotusland. For example, Surrey is only 12 miles away, apartments are significantly cheaper, rent is 62% lower, and the lifestyle is more slow-paced.
Other things are more or less the same, but the difference in monthly rent can be a selling point for many. It is another great option for starters until you find a job and a decent apartment close to it. However, bear in mind that traffic jams can be a struggle. Whether you are driving your vehicle or using public transportation, so make sure to consider all the pros and cons before you decide where you are going to live.
Daily Expenses: Groceries vs. Restaurants
Many Vancouverites are into eating healthy, local, and organic food, so they do the majority of their grocery shopping at farmers’ markets that can be found pretty much around every corner. They offer fresh, seasonal products, and locals rely on them as their main source of ingredients for meal prepping. When buying groceries, you will need around $220 per month for that, depending on where you shop, what kind of meals you prefer, etc.
However, Vancouverites, and especially millennials, like to eat outside. Since there are plenty of restaurants and bars that are serving tasty food, it is hard to resist and go home to cook. Instead, many opt to order or to go out for dinner several times per month, for which they pay $15 on average in an inexpensive restaurant. For a mid-range venue, the amount climbs to $80 for a 3-course meal, for a couple. And if you want to treat yourself once in a while in a top-notch, high-end place, you’ll have to set aside around $200 for two people.
Comparing Expenses to Other International Cities and Countries
We mentioned that although Lotusland is pricey, it is still not as high-priced as some other places. To get a bigger picture, we’ve decided to compare the prices of some groceries and things we all use on a weekly level. You may be surprised to find out that in certain categories, London is cheaper than Vancouver, and vice versa.
|A meal in an inexpensive restaurant||$12,16||$20||$9,18||$19,63|
|Imported beer 0,33||$5,32||$8||$5,51||$5,89|
|1 gallon of milk||$1,78||$1,14||$6,57||$4,78|
|1lb of apples||$2,99||$6,26||$3,34||$1,10|
|1lb of potato||$2,45||$4,24||$1,63||$0,71|
|1lb of oranges||$3,05||$6,34||$2,55||$1,20|
Despite the constant improvements in public transportation and lines, it is still not easy to get around the city due to a large number of cars on the streets. SkyTrain’s light rapid transit system currently has three lines, and it connects the downtown area with Metro Vancouver’s suburbs. Since companies like Uber and Lyft were banned until a couple of months ago, Vancouverites are still getting used to the idea of using an app to get a ride.
One ticket for Translink, the city’s public transportation network is $2.28, while a monthly pass is around $75. If you want to drive your vehicle, count that one gallon of gasoline is $4.42. Taxis can be hard to find, and start is usually around $2.5. Vancouverites love car-sharing, and you can even find special car-sharing parking lots in central locations. Another “sharing” solution is to rent a bike from one of many stations in town.
Phone, Internet, and Other Utilities
When moving abroad, you are surely thinking about how to stay in touch with your friends back at home, so you will be using your phone and the internet a lot. In Canada, phone plans are costly, so if you manage to find an offer for a phone for $75 per month, with more than 2 or 3 GB of data, do not let it go.
There are plenty of internet providers, and you just have to research and find a plan that suits your needs the best. However, high-priced offers do not always come with the fastest internet connections. On average, for decent speed, expect that you will have to pay around $55.
When renting a place, expect that everything except for water will be up to you to pay. Luckily, utilities are not so crazy expensive here. For a two-bedroom apartment, you should pay around $130-$150 per month for gas, electricity, and heating. And do not forget the insurance since many renters will ask you to get one. It is usually around $20 per month.
Help! How Can I Afford to Live in Vancouver?
If you have decided to relocate to The Great White North, and settle down in one of its most popular towns, prepare for a culture shock. Even though Canada is more similar to us than China, for example, adjusting to a new country is always a process. A process during which you are trying to fit in and cover all the expenses related to your move.
For starters, you can search for expat communities online, and get first-hand information about the costs and help related to finding a home and a job. International moving by sea and overseas vehicle shipping are not cheap services, especially if you are looking to hire a reputable company to manage your move and find storage for some of your stuff. One of the ways to save money and make your relocation more affordable is to organize a garage sale and get rid of the stuff you no longer need. So here are some tips on how to save up if you’re relocating on a tighter budget:
- Selling things before moving will earn you some money, and at the same time, you will need fewer boxes and moving supplies, so your packing service bill can also be reduced.
- Finding an affordable apartment outside of the city center can help you save some money until you land a steady, well-paid job.
- Using public transportation instead of Uber or driving will also keep your costs at a minimum.
- Allow yourself to order food or eat out occasionally, not on a daily level. You can save a lot by preparing your own meals.
We Hope You Were Enjoying While Watching This Video
Reading guides can sometimes be a bit overwhelming; you are trying to figure it all out, but your vision might get blurred from all the facts and numbers. If you favor a more dynamic approach, you can always take a look at some videos and see how these things really are. Research no longer implies googling and reading. Nowadays, Youtube videos have become an authoritative source of information, and people believe them because they seem genuine and share live experiences.
The Bottom Line
How do you find this place? Over the top expensive, affordable, cheap, perhaps? The thing is, expenses tend to vary, food prices go up and down, and you can always find cheaper options once you step out of downtown. So, do not let the rumors scare you and make you change your mind. A smart option is to first travel through CA and other towns, and see for yourself whether a certain neighborhood is the right fit. But if you can see yourself working and starting a new life in America’s northern neighbor, then you should certainly give this place a chance.