Moving to a major metropolitan area like Vancouver is always stressful, not least of all because it’s so much more expensive than moving virtually anywhere else. It’s the kind of situation that makes you wonder if you can even afford life in the big city at all.
On the fence about whether or not you’re financially ready to set up shop in Vancouver? Here’s some important info you might want to think about.
Best Housing Costs by Neighborhood
First things first, it’s important to keep in mind that, whatever part of town you choose to call home, Vancouver homes for sale don’t come cheap. Period. The average cost of buying a house in the area is more than one million dollars. You read that right: $1,000,000 CAD. And that’s on the cheaper end.
That said, when it comes to renting, there’s a bit more wiggle room and some neighborhoods are more affordable than others. A one-bedroom apartment in the West End typically costs about $1,500 CAD a month, while apartments in Killarney and Kitsilano will set you back an average $1,700 and $1,800 respectively. Beyond that, most neighborhoods will have you shelling out more than $2,000 every month.
Job Opportunities & Income Statistics
Blessedly, the steep cost of Vancouver housing is counterbalanced by an extremely strong economy and job market, as well as higher-than-average salaries. The last two census reports found that Vancouver’s employment rate has been steadily growing every year since 2001, with tech jobs growing at an especially fast rate.
The average salary earned by most Vancouver residents is estimated to be about $129,000 yearly, roughly twice the average salary in many other parts of Canada. In regards to lower-paying and entry-level jobs, Vancouver recently raised its minimum wage to $15.20 CAD an hour, adding up to just under $24,000 a year for those working at least 30 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.
Owning a Car vs. Using Public Transit
Like most major cities, getting around Vancouver can be a real pain in the neck sometimes. That’s thanks in part to constant heavy traffic, but another piece of the puzzle is limited parking options. Even worse, parking meters in Vancouver operate seven days a week, even on holidays. Add to that rising gas prices and the highest car insurance premiums in Canada (more than $1,800 CAD a month), and it’s no surprise why more and more Vancouver locals are opting to use public transit.
Operated by TransLink, Vancouver’s public transit system is divided into a network of buses, trains, and ferries. Fortunately, because they all operate under the same banner, commuters can buy convenient, reloadable fare cards, with each ride costing between $3 and $5 CAD depending on distance traveled.