The cost of living in Vancouver

the cost of living in Vancouver

By Maria del Pilar Panizo

Living in Vancouver is definitely a pride for many who enjoy nature and the city life all in one place. Also, being one of the 10 best cities to live in, Vancouver comes with great expenses as well, let us help you know some of them. 


Housing in Vancouver is more wanted than ever, due to this situation the prices have increased and the options for a living place have also expanded, making it a little bit better when it comes to affording it.

Types of housing: 

    •    Apartment: Which is a unit in residential buildings where you share common areas.
    •    Studio: This is a more compact space with all in one room, it is usually cheaper.
    •    House detached: Is a separated house usually for a family or a group of people.
    •    Town Home: A multi-floor home with separate entrances for different properties.
    •    Basement Apartment: Is a rental unit below the street level usually under a house.
    •    Lane Home: Is situated in a backyard or as a suite apart from the house owner.
    •    Homestay: Allows people to book a room in another person’s home.


The average rental price for many of these places is between $1,000 to $2,500 and it can go from $700 to $800 when sharing the space but also depending on the zone. Then, where can you find a place when you have so many options? Here we will show you some of the websites and places you can go when finding a house or apartment that will make it easier for you and your budget. You can check the sources at the end of the article where there’ll be links to some of these websites and in it you will have the advantage to change the filters to let it know what you are looking for, if it is 1 bedroom, with or without a bathroom or maybe if you even want a kitchen. You can decide it all in the websites listed below.

Where to find a place online?  

    ⁃    Craigslist
    ⁃    Padmapper
    ⁃    Facebook marketplace
    ⁃    Vancouver rentals & roommates
    ⁃    Kijiji
    ⁃    Rentseeker
    ⁃    Apartment love

Other ways to find it? 

    ⁃    Walking around
    ⁃    Agencies like Vanmates
    ⁃    Homestay
    ⁃    Ask your friends

You may be really excited now that you know how you can get somewhere to live in a city as amazing as Vancouver, but at the same time you may be asking yourself, which option is better when it comes to housing, and don’t worry! We will give you the answer so you can know what to be expecting when choosing a place to stay.

Share a house or individual rent?

Here are some of the most popular opinions on a pros vs cons basis that will help you know better what kind of housing you are looking for.

Pros vs Cons:

Having a roommate can come with less expenses, and with the fact that you can potentially gain a friend for life are pros strongly considered by many people. But privacy sometimes is not refundable, boundaries are really important when living with someone and there are times where you find yourself struggling with the person you share a space with. Lastly the sharing situation could be a con when you realize nothing really belongs to you only, but also when you share the budget of everything in the house you will be actually thankful when considering all the other expenses you would have living alone.

Important recommendation:

Try to find a place close to your job or college that you are attending because the distances in Vancouver are long and it can actually save you money and time when living close by.

Utilities (Gas/Cell phone/Internet/Electricity)

For your personal phone, the SIM card can be a bit expensive when it comes with data and a phone plan, but it is always useful to have and it could be from $15 to $70 per month, some of the most popular companies that will help you are Fido, Roger, Telus, Freedom, etc., and for the house the average price of the internet is from $70 to $120 a month. Regarding gas and electricity in a house the only providers are Fortis BC and BC Hydro so it would depend on the number of people in the family, but the average cost could be of $100 for gas and another $100 for the electricity. If we make a total of the expenses of all utilities it can go from $200 to $300 a month, but again, depending on the family and their necessities those expenses could rise or get lower.

Food and Dining

If what you want to know is about bulk-buying and couponing, it can be really helpful as well as knowing where to shop which definitely can give you a better number on your food budget. In places like Walmart, Nesters Market, H-Mart, T&T supermarket, food can be at a reasonable price, a liter of milk is around $2 and a loaf of fresh bread is around $3. Fruit can cost a bit more, actually the average cost of groceries for 1 person in Vancouver is $227.35 per month. If what you want is to go out for a beer in a restaurant or bar, the averages are around $8.50 a bottle, and a cheap meal is around $9, a three course meal for two around $80 which is actually not that expensive. A fun fact is that a lot of Vancouver’s bars serve their own craft beers, which will make you feel like you are living a hipster nightlife.


When we talk about transportation in Vancouver we have to notice that it is based on a three-zone system, with one-way fees ranging from $3.05 to $5.90 adult and $2 to $4.05 concession. The rule is that you travel for 90 minutes on the same fare, and fees are the same regardless of what method of transport you take if it’s a bus, SkyTrain or SeaBus, but please remember that the West Coast Express trains are priced differently. You can also save money and time by buying a travel card or a Compass card that goes monthly or weekly, which varies in price depending on whether you qualify for concession fares (e.g. children/students/seniors) and where you live. The prices for the monthly Compass card can go from $100.25 to $181.05. If you have a car the gasoline in Vancouver is $1.89 – $2.45 per liter due to the recent increase of the price, and in BC insurances are mandatory so affording a car insurance is going to be on your top list and that can be $150 per month.


Talking about saving money, water is free!! And you can get it everywhere you go, just by asking for it. A glass of water in restaurants or coffee shops will never be denied to you and keep it in mind because knowing this will be of help whenever you need it. 

Hopefully you found this article helpful and informative, we are always happy to answer your questions and doubts, so please enjoy your time in Vancouver and don’t forget to save money!


Highest increase in Canada:

Finance in Vancouver:

Vancouver as a city:

Housing in Vancouver:


Vancouver rentals & roommates:

Roommates Vancouver:

Pros and cons when renting:

Having a roommate:

Basic living cost:

Utilities in BC:

Pricing and Fare zones:

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