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    City Series: The Average Cost of Living in Vancouver

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    Vancouver, British Columbia is known for its beautiful scenery and bustling downtown core. But what does it cost to live there?

    There are a lot of positive qualities about Metro Vancouver, from the beaches and mountains to the flourishing small business and startup communities. And while it may be a great place to live, it also has a reputation for being one of the most expensive cities in Canada.

    So, what does it cost to live there? Whether you’re a single person or a family of four, we break down the monthly costs of living in the city of Vancouver.

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    Vancouver’s Cost of Living

    Want to know what it costs to live in beautiful British Columbia’s city of Vancouver? Below, you’ll find details on everything from rental expenses to the price of a monthly transit pass, based on statistics provided by Numbeo.

    1. Housing

    When it comes to living in any city, the first expense that you’re likely going to look into is housing. This is true for most people regardless of whether they’re interested in renting an apartment or buying their own home.

    How much is it to rent in Vancouver?

    As you may have expected, rentals in Vancouver vary in price depending on their exact location, number of rooms, and square footage. The average monthly price for a one-bedroom apartment in the city is around $2,200.

    Although some rental prices will include the cost of utilities and parking, the average rent mentioned above does not take into consideration expenses like your renter’s insurance.

    How much is it to own in Vancouver?

    Buying a house in Vancouver is a hot topic for many Canadians across the country, with homes frequently selling for well over asking. Since the average price of a Metro Vancouver house is $1.4M, this isn’t too surprising. Condos aren’t cheap either, with their average sale price being just over $800,000.

    In addition to what you pay for the actual home, there’s also homeowner’s insurance, annual property maintenance, and property taxes to consider.

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    2. Childcare

    Finding childcare is notoriously difficult in Vancouver. Available spots in local daycare facilities are few and far between, with wait lists typically being two-to-three-years long. This means that many parents are forced to opt for more expensive options, such as hiring a nanny.

    Full-time care at a private daycare costs an average of $1,350. While the average monthly cost of a nanny is typically around $3,550.

    3. Education

    Whether you’d like to continue your journey as a student or you’re trying to find a school for your young children, the price of education in Vancouver varies depending on the type of institution.

    See below for more information on what the average annual tuitions are for:

    • Private schools: $18,000

    • Public schools: $0 (for Canadian residents)

    • Post-secondary schools: $4,500

    4. Entertainment and Fitness

    From movies to gym memberships, below are a few examples of what you can expect to spend on leisure activities in Vancouver.

    The average movie ticket in the city is around $16. But keep in mind that there are other screenings that you can see beside the typical showtimes. For example, you can choose to go to a family screening, which costs only $3 a ticket, or the fancier VIP theatres, which costs around $25 per ticket.

    Tickets to a big sporting event in Vancouver, such as a Canucks or Whitecaps game, will cost you around $50 on average.

    Fitness memberships for one adult in the city are typically around $55 per month.

    In total, if you want to belong to a gym, see one movie per month, and attend one sports game per month, your monthly leisure costs would be about $121.

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    5. Food

    The cost of groceries has been climbing in recent years, with the monthly average ringing in at around $360. This does not include alcohol or cigarettes.

    Dining out and takeaway food will, of course, cost you more. The average cost varies greatly based on how frequently you eat out, and your taste in restaurants. For example, a meal at an inexpensive establishment will set you back only $20 per person, whereas the bill for two people dining at a mid-range restaurant will be around $100 total.

    So, if you were to order in or dine out three times a month, for two people, you would spend between $120 and $300.

    Based on the above, the total average price of food in Vancouver would cost you between $480 and $660 each month.

    6. Transportation

    The cost of transportation will greatly differ depending on whether you opt to take public transport or use your own vehicle.

    With public transit, you’ll have access to Metro Vancouver’s TransLink system, which includes bus and train lines like the West Coast Express. You can also take the SeaBus, a small less-than-15-minute ferry that goes back and forth between downtown and the North Shore.

    A monthly pass for TransLink costs between $100.25 to $181.05, depending on the number of zones you require.

    A car, on the other hand, will likely cost you much more. Not including maintenance, car insurance, gas, or parking, the average cost of buying a new vehicle in Vancouver, such as a Volkswagen Golf, is $29,900.

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    7. Utilities

    Utilities in Vancouver are typically a monthly expense, with the exception of BC Hydro, which bills every two months. Here’s a list of common utilities and what you can expect to pay for them each month, on average:

    • Cell phone plan: $100

    • Internet: $80

    • Cable: $22

    • Electricity and heating: $105

    The cost of living in Vancouver is expensive. Protect your finances with comprehensive insurance from APOLLO.

    Previous City Series Articles

    Interested to know what it costs to live in other Canadian cities? Check out APOLLO Magazine’s previous articles in this series:

    No matter where you’re located, living expenses add up. Protect your finances with comprehensive insurance coverage from APOLLO.

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    Get no-nonsense coverage that's the best value for your money. Purchase policies from your computer or phone, receive your documents instantly, and save when you buy online.

    Originally published June 6, 2022, updated September 5, 2023

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