THE TRUE COST OF LIVING IN VANCOUVER BC

By Quality Move Management Inc / April 29, 2019

Vancouver is a coastal seaport in British Columbia on Canada’s South West coast. As the province’s largest city and the third largest metropolis in the country, Vancouver is frequently the city of choice for locals moving within Canada and expatriates moving to Canada from international locations.

Vancouver is a sanctuary for outdoor lovers, but a haven for lively inner city enthusiasts, for individuals who prefer to spend their weekends soaking up cultures and also those who prefer to spend their weekends exploring cocktail menus - Vancouver is the ultimate city offering versatility, multiculturalism and most importantly, entertainment for the masses.

There are cascades of reasons why Vancouver natives remain in their home city and new residents join the community and the city consistently adapts to accommodate and appease these new and remaining inhabitants.

The constant evolution of Vancouver sees the city unfailingly named as one of the top five cities in the world for Quality of Life, Liveability and Most Well-Living Cities, subsequently magnetising even MORE intrigued newcomers. With this rising population comes an increased cost of living in Vancouver BC.

We have done a breakdown of the average cost of living in Vancouver versus the average Vancouver salary, factoring in crucial aspects of day to day life, recreation and just general living.

VANCOUVER HOUSE PRICES

If moving to a province with affordable house prices is of high importance to you, Vancouver won't naturally be your first choice for relocation. We have a previous blog post rounding up the most affordable (and most expensive) provinces to rent or purchase property in Canada, but if your energy is focused on a move to Vancouver, here's how the property market measures up:

Unfortunately, Vancouver house prices are not only the highest in British Colombia but also the highest across the country. Purchasing a home in Vancouver is more than just buying a property; it’s about buying into a transcendent lifestyle and becoming a part of one of the world’s most admired cities.

Due to the high demand for property in the locality, house prices in Vancouver Canada skyrocketed in previous years, and it appears a slight yearly incline still occurs.

House prices in Vancouver vary dramatically based on the property type and number of bedrooms, but it is hard to find many city centre properties under the $400k price point. The average cost of a studio condo in Vancouver currently stands at $442k, while the average asking price for a one bedroom apartment at $570k.

If a house is more of your style rather than a condo, your pockets will need to be significantly deeper. The current asking price for a two bedroom townhouse is $1.2M, and a three bedroom detached house can require an average of $2.2M.

VANCOUVER UTILITY COSTS

Being able to bear the monthly costs of your rent or a mortgage is one matter, but with property comes the need to pay for essential utilities, internet, telephone lines etc. and you should factor these into your monthly outgoings.

Although house prices in Vancouver Canada are higher than most other Canadian cities and rank fairly high on an international comparison, utility costs in Vancouver are some of the cheapest in the country and cheaper than the monthly utility bills of most Europeans.

The approximate costs of utilities in Vancouver are as follows:

  • Heating, Electricity, Water, Gas etc. for 2 People in 85m2 Apartment = $107 per month
  • Heating, Electricity, Water, Gas etc. for 2 People in 45m2 Apartment = $78 per month
  • Internet 60 Mbps or More with Unlimited Data and Cable/ADSL = $75 per month
  • Cleaning Help in your Home = $29 per hour
  • Gasoline = $1.30 - $1.50 per litre
  • Monthly Cell Phone Plans = $48.68 per month

GROCERY & PERSONAL CARE COSTS IN VANCOUVER

Possibly THE most unavoidable outgoing to consider is the cost of groceries. It’s unquestionable that we all need to eat, whether that is a budget-friendly home cooked meal or eating at a café or fine dining restaurant, the cost of food in Vancouver is still a necessity in one way or another.

Most of us will treat ourselves to a lunch or dinner out every once in a while, but home cooked meals with supermarket-bought groceries are more of an everyday occurrence. We have compiled a brief roundup of some staple foods required to make a meal or those foods that we eat more or less every single day and the average costs of these foods in Vancouver’s supermarkets:

  • 1lb of Chicken Breast = $8
  • 12 Large Eggs = $5.10
  • A loaf of Fresh Bread = $0.77
  • 2lb of Potatoes = $2.80
  • 2lb of Apples = $3.70
  • 2lb of Tomatoes = $3.70
  • 1kg of White Rice = $3.50
  • 1 litre of Milk = $2.52
  • 1 Bottle of Red Wine = $21

COST OF EDUCATION IN VANCOUVER

British Columbia has one of, if not the best, schooling systems in Canada and Vancouver institutions consistently provide some of the highest-rated education to its pupils.  Luckily for expatriates, public schools in Vancouver are COMPLETELY FREE whether you are living in Canada as a permanent resident or on a temporary work visa.

If you would prefer to send your child to one of Vancouver’s elite private schools, there are plenty of options but you must apply far in advance and be prepared to agree to a high price, but it is worth noting that the contrast in yearly cost between the cheapest and most expensive is quite significant.

The Vancouver Waldorf School was found to be on the cheaper end of the private school spectrum, coming in at $3,200 per year. In stark contrast to this, St. George’s School yearly price tag ranges from $16,085, all the way up to $48.250 per year for boarding students.

VANCOUVER CHILD CARE COSTS

Upon relocating to another country as a family unit, it is highly unlikely that you will have grandparents or other family members to fall back on as a support unit for childcare, in which case, you will have to fund external childcare services.

If your child is a toddler, or of any pre-school age, expensing daycare five days a week can take a create quite the dent in your monthly wage packet, so it is vital to work this into your monthly or weekly budgeting.

The average cost of childcare in Vancouver is the second highest in the country. The Canadian Centre for Policy alternatives carried out a study and found that the median childcare costs in Vancouver was $1300 per month for toddlers and $1400 for infants, which amounts to a staggering $16,800 per year.

AVERAGE VANCOUVER SALARIES

The monthly cost of living in Vancouver and its affordability is mostly dependent on the amount of money that you earn each month.

Whether you are already a citizen moving within Canada to Vancouver or relocating to Canada from an international destination, it is advantageous to gauge the average salary in Vancouver, specific to your profession and industry. That way, you will be able to determine if a move to Vancouver is financially feasible and comfortable for you and your family.

We accumulated a small list of popular careers in Vancouver, and some in-demand careers in Vancouver, to hopefully give you an insight into what you could be earning per annum when living in Vancouver, covering a broad spectrum of professions, industries and wage brackets:

  • Vancouver Police Salary = $127,000 - $137,000
  • Lawyer Salary Vancouver = $130,854 - $183,000
  • Architect Salary Vancouver = $68,725
  • Vancouver Firefighter Salary = $69,204 (1st year) $98,868 (4th year) $104,796 (15th year)
  • Vancouver Teacher Salary = $54,000
  • Nurse Salary Vancouver = $26.53 - $41.49 per hour
  • Pharmacist Salary Vancouver = $135,235
  • Realtor Salary Vancouver = $109,000
  • Physiotherapist Salary Vancouver = $61,674 (1st year) rising up to $96,547 on average
  • Accountant Salary Vancouver = $63,000
  • Vancouver Truck Driver Salary = $21 per hour
  • Welder Salary Vancouver = $24.02 per hour
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