Country Guides November 24, 2020

The True Cost of Living in Vancouver, British Columbia

Amelia Mead

Originally from Chicago, currently everywhere, Amelia is a freelance writer working on bringing all the moving tips to you.

If you’re interested to learn more about the cost of living in Vancouver before moving here, we’ve crunched some numbers for you and assembled all the information you need. This booming metropolis is the most populous area in the province of British Columbia and one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada. It is continuously ranked high among the best places in the world to live in, so it comes as no surprise that people from all around the globe move here for a fresh start.

What Salary Do I Need to Live in Vancouver?

Unfortunately, Raincouver has the dishonor of being a notoriously expensive city, much like some places here in the United States, say, New York or Los Angeles. However, the fact that millions of people from different backgrounds continue to migrate here demonstrates it’s feasible to earn enough money to live comfortably.

So, what is the average salary in Vancouver? Generally speaking, your minimum annual wage should be approximately $50,000 (or C$65,000) before taxes, or to put it differently, your monthly income should add up to $3300 (C$4,300) after paying taxes, CPP, and EI. Needless to say, this coastal metropolis won’t be making the list of cheapest places to live in Canada any time soon, but it’s not impossible to get by just fine. You will also be able to reap the benefits of Canada’s amazing healthcare system, which includes free medical emergency services and public health insurance.

Is Vancouver More Expensive than Toronto?

Is Vancouver an expensive city? The short answer is yes, but compared to other global megalopolises like Tokyo, Singapore, or Shanghai, it’s not even half as pricey. If we’re talking about Canada though, Raincouver is just slightly less costly than the nation’s biggest city – Toronto. According to the local monthly average, the cost of living in Toronto is 13% higher than in Vancouver, so take that into consideration before relocating.

Living in a megalopolis usually comes at a high price.

Housing Costs in Vancouver

Before moving internationally to one of the friendliest countries in the world, you should take some time to balance your finances and do some market research. Based on what you’ve read so far, you’re probably aware that living in Vancouver means living in one of the most expensive cities in the Great White North. If you are looking to buy a house, make sure to familiarize yourself with the local housing market. Currently, the standard selling price is around $1.1 million (C$1.4 million), which is slightly below the norm, so you’re in luck. The most affordable type of accommodation is, expectedly, one-room studio apartments, selling for approximately $468,000 (C$605,870). From there on, the prices go up as the number of rooms increases.

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Housing Expenses per Month

If you’re not looking to buy and are going for a more temporary budget-friendly solution, the current average rent for a one-bedroom apartment ranges from around $1300 to $1800 per month (or C$1680 to C$2330). Naturally, housing expenses outside the city center are somewhat cheaper. You can stumble upon cases where a homeowner has renovated their basement or extension and is now subletting it for a significantly lower price (up to 30% lower). Talk about a great way to save some money! One last thing, if you’re moving to Canada with pets, you should be wary of whether your landlord allows keeping animals because that can be a definite deal-breaker.

Two people counting money and checking the conversion rates before moving abroad
Come up with a financial plan and look for affordable housing.

Phone and Internet Bills and the Average Cost of Utilities per Month

For the first few weeks, you will probably be using your phone a lot, especially if you’re moving abroad alone and are feeling homesick. Phone plans are quite costly – the cheapest package you can find is around $75 (C$97) per month, with 3 GB of mobile data, so keep an eye out for that. Luckily, there’s no shortage of internet providers, so you should be able to find a deal that’s best suited for your needs. The average pricing is about $55 (C$72) per month. Keep in mind that paying extra doesn’t always mean having a better internet connection and speed. As luck would have it, utilities are not really expensive. The average cost for a two-bedroom apartment is around $130-$150 (C$170-195) per month for gas, electricity, and heating, and renters insurance is usually around $20 (C$25) per month.

We spend the better part of the day gawking at phones and computers, so try to find the best package deal.

Daily Cost of Living in Vancouver Canada – Groceries and Restaurant Prices

Moving to Vancouver will improve your eating habits, that’s for sure. Vancouverites lead a very healthy lifestyle, so they usually get their groceries from local farmers instead of supermarkets. If you’re looking to improve your eating habits by switching to organic food and fresh ingredients, you can consider shopping at one of the many farmer’s markets scattered around town. Monthly expenses add up to around $220 (C$285), depending on where you shop, and what kind of food you enjoy.  However, it’s also not unusual to eat out, since there are plenty of restaurants famous for serving incredible dishes. For a mid-range venue, the pricing is approximately $90 (C$117) for a 3-course meal. If you have a more distinguished palate and want to indulge yourself by going to a fancy restaurant, you’ll have to set aside around $200 (C$260) for a two-person meal.

How Much Money Do I Need for Entertainment?

If you’re a party animal, you’ll have to fork out around $90-120 (C$117-155) a month at least, given the fact that the average prices for a cocktail are between $10 and $15 (C$13-20). For that same amount of money, you can go to the movies or enjoy a theatre play, so it’s really up to you and your preferences. Adjusting to a new country is hard, so make sure to give yourself a break from time to time and let loose. If you want to entertain yourself with some very specific sightseeing, you can check out these 5 filming locations you can visit in the video below!

Transportation Prices

The daily ticket for Translink, the city’s public transportation network, is $2.28 (C$2.95), while a monthly pass is around $75 (C$97). There’s also SkyTrain’s light rapid transit system that connects the downtown area with the suburbs. If you’re a frequent Uber or Lyft user, you should know that those apps were recently banned in Vancouver. In case you are a driver, the gas price is $4.42 (C$5.72) per gallon. If you would like to have your vehicle with you after you move, make sure to arrange for international auto transport on time.

We Hope You’ll Be Enjoying Lotusland Soon

Don’t be discouraged by what you’ve read so far. Keep in mind that things like housing costs and living expenses can vary.  Even when you hire an international moving company you can save up some cash by signing up for affordable international moving services or getting a quick moving estimate. Enlisting the help of Vancouver international movers will ensure a quick and painless international relocation. Whatever you decide to do, know that there is a place for you, here in the Great White North!

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