Country Guides January 4, 2021

What is the Cost of Living in Vancouver, Canada

Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

The largest place in the province of British Columbia attracts many people with its multicultural and progressive spirit. Still, the city is one of the most expensive in Canada, and the cost of living in Vancouver exceeds the national average. Read on to find out how much money you need to live in one of Canada’s most popular cities.

Is Vancouver an Expensive City?

If you are thinking about moving to Vancouver, you must be interested in the standard of living in the city. Generally speaking, if you compare V-town to major US cities such as LA, NYC, San Francisco, or Chicago, you’ll find it’s less expensive than all of those. According to Expatistan, the cost of living is 16% cheaper in the V than in LA and 32% lower than in NYC. Nevertheless, the largest city in the province of British Columbia is one of the priciest cities in the country, and its only serious rival is Toronto. In case you were wondering why is Vancouver so expensive to live in, there’s no easy answer to your dilemma. You should know that the investment and capital flowing in the BC capital are among the highest in the world, which causes the prices to skyrocket.

Is Vancouver More Expensive Than Toronto?

If you’re moving internationally to Canada and you’re having doubts whether to choose Toronto or V-town, bear in mind that the latter is 5% cheaper than the former. The price of groceries, clothes, and entertainment are almost the same in the two places, but housing and transportation costs are more expensive in the city of Toronto. If you plan on renting in Toronto, you should prepare to allocate up to 200 CAD (about 150 USD) more than you would in Van, according to Numbeo. Likewise, for a monthly pass for public transport, you’ll need to add 50 CAD (roughly 40 USD) in Toronto to the price you’d pay in the V. So, choose wisely since both cities can compete in the category of best places to live abroad, but your choice depends on your spending priorities.

The two cities are quite similar in terms of prices

What Is the Average Salary in Vancouver?

The city has a booming and competitive job market with a plethora of different employment opportunities. According to the city’s Economic Commission, its key sectors are finance, new technologies, and social enterprise, but there are also numerous other recruiting programs. If you want to find work in Vancouver, your average income will naturally differ depending on various factors. But, generally speaking, the average monthly net salary (after tax) is around 4,500 CAD (3,440 USD), according to Numbeo. The bad news is that you’ll have to pay taxes both to the US and to Canada, but the good news is that Canada’s healthcare system is tax-funded.

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What Salary Do You Need to Live in Vancouver?

To be able to cover your housing costs with the utilities, buy food and afford an occasional night out, you’ll need to make at least 3,200 CAD (2,450 USD) per month, which is about 38,000 CAD (29,000 USD) annually without the taxes. So, is 50K a good salary in Vancouver? It sure is. But, if this amount sounds like too much to make or you’re moving abroad alone, it may seem more economical to start looking for roommates in one of the friendliest countries in the world. On the other hand, if you’re moving to another country for love, you might strike it lucky since getting a permanent residency through family sponsorship might mean cutting off certain taxes in Canada.

You’ll need to make around 40,000 annually to live comfortably

Housing Costs per Month Broken Down

The question of housing is one of the most significant when moving abroad, especially if you’re searching for the best places to live abroad with family. Buying a new home is safer in the long run but much more expensive. To go for it, you’ll have to pay around 1,090 CAD (about 850 USD) per square meter in the downtown area. As you go further from the downtown core, prices start dropping, but the commuting time increases. On the other hand, if you’re searching for a place to rent, prepare about 2,000 CAD (1,500 USD) for a single-room flat in a good neighborhood. Besides, you’ll need an additional 85 CAD (65 USD) monthly for basic utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water) and about 80 CAD (60 USD) for the Internet, according to Numbeo.

Renting here is more affordable if you haven’t got a family

Cost of Living in Vancouver Canada – Other Prices

If dishes are on your list of what to pack when moving abroad and you plan to cook, you’ll be fine with around 350 CAD (270 USD) for groceries for one person. Try to make use of various local green markets and the discounts they’re offering. And if you forgot winter clothes while thinking about how to move abroad, V-town might catch you off guard since winters can get quite freezing here. To purchase a basic outfit (jeans and T-shirt), you’ll need around 100 CAD (76 USD), but there are many second-hand and quaint shops if you’re not into chain stores or the high street.

Hope to Find Entertainment and Save While Enjoying Your Free Time at Reasonable Cost?

If you don’t know how to spend your free time while living overseas, use apps such as Yelp or Instagram for inspiration. You’ll definitely do fine in the V since the bustling metropolis is full of places to visit, like clubs, restaurants, and cinemas, and a street full of people is a common sight. Besides, if you’re a sports enthusiast, you’ll feel at home here among many work-out and recreation fans. Check out this table if you’re interested in the amount of money you’ll need for leisure activities.

Free-time activities and prices
Dinner out for two (medium-priced restaurant) around 60 CAD (45 USD)
Two tickets for the movies about 30 CAD (22 USD)
One cocktail in a downtown club 10-15 CAD (8-12 USD)
One month of gym membership about 55 CAD (42 USD)

Planning to Move to V-town?

If you are already dreaming of your international moving adventure and living in the Great White North, start planning on time. Consider hiring a reliable international moving company and arrange their services such as packing and boxes and moving supplies or custom crating for your most valuable possessions. If you feel like driving in the new place, look up overseas vehicle shipping. And if you are in need of a storage unit, think about that too. Finally, make sure you schedule your free survey on time to book a company you like for international moving by air or by sea to Van.

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