What Is It Like To Live In Vancouver BC
What Is It Like To Live In Vancouver BC? Here’s everything you want to know about the beautiful seaport city, including history, demographics, local economy, average home prices in the area and more.
Located on the mainland of British Columbia, Vancouver has a healthy real estate market thanks to the diverse local economy and the high quality of life residents enjoy. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Vancouver is the first and only city to be ranked as one of the top ten most livable cities in the world for five years in a row.
The city center, known as Greater Vancouver or Metro Vancouver, is home to everything you could ever want in terms of shopping, arts, culture and exciting nightlife. Beautifully lush forests surround the bustling city, offering the perfect escape for nature lovers.
Brief History Of Vancouver
Originally referred to as Gastown, Vancouver got its humble start when John Deighton “Gassy Jack”, a steamboat captain and barkeep, opened a local tavern. The tavern became a popular spot for trade and commerce, as well as a place for fisherman and loggers to cut loose and have a good time.
Due to the superb location of the tavern, it didn’t take long for more businesses, hotels and other establishments to develop on the coastal land. In 1886, the city was officially incorporated and renamed Vancouver. Today, the Gastown district located downtown is a designated National Historic Site of Canada.
In 1887, the transcontinental railway was extended into Vancouver due to easy seaport access. This opened up advantageous trading opportunities, pushing the city forward on a path of continuous growth.
Aboriginal people, including North American Indians and Métis or Inuit tribes, are recorded living in Vancouver as long as 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. Tribes set up villages in Stanley Park, Kitsilano, Point Grey, Fraser River, and False Creek. Today around 2% of Vancouver’s population are descendants of aboriginal groups.
As Canada’s eighth-largest municipality, Vancouver is home to around 2.4 million people. Around 603,000 of these people live in the urban area of Greater Vancouver.
Vancouver is considered among the most ethnically diverse parts of Canada. After Toronto, Vancouver remains the second most popular destination for immigrants looking to relocate.
Vancouver has the least amount of residential segregation and the greatest number of interracial couples compared to Canada’s other two largest cities, Toronto and Montreal. The deepest cultural roots link back to British, European, and Asian ethnicities.
Here’s a break down of Vancouver’s population by ethnicity:
- 46% European Canadian
- 2% Aboriginal group
- 6% South Asian
- 29.7% Chinese
- 1% Black
- 6% Filipino
- 1.6% Latin American
- 0.5% Arab
- 3% Southeast Asian
- 1.2% West Asian
- 1.5% Korean
- 1.7% Japanese
What Is The Cost Of Living In Vancouver?
Vancouver ranks 78 out of 245 in the world for the cost of living. It is 31 out of 60 in North America and ranks third in Canada out of 10. The cost of living in Vancouver is considered fairly high but is still 30.87% less than it is New York City.
According to Numbeo.com, the average monthly cost of living (not including rent) in Vancouver for a single person is 992.29C$, and for a family of four is 3,678.88C$.
Compared to other parts of Canada, the cost of clothing, food, restaurants, sports and leisure rank right in the middle, between the lowest and highest priced cities. Interestingly, transportation costs rank closer to the lower end of the spectrum.
The cost of living in Vancouver is higher than other dots on the map, but the reasons for this relate to a healthy local economy and high demand to live in the area.
Every year, port activity alone generates $9.7 billion in gross domestic product and $20.3 billion in economic output. Forestry is another leading industry for the Vancouver economy. Along with port activity and forestry, tourism is another chief source of cash flow for the city. In recent years, other industries have experienced incredible growth including software development, video game development, film industry, aerospace and biotechnology.
As one of the leading industrial centers in the nation, Vancouver remains a prosperous place to find employment or start a business. Vancouver’s median total household income is $67,090.
Depending on which part of Vancouver you move to, there are many private and public schools to choose from. You may want to do some research first to uncover the highest-ranked schools in Vancouver, as this may help you identify the right neighbourhood for your family.
Many of British Columbia’s highest-ranked public and private schools are located in Vancouver, including:
- York House
- Little Flower Academy
- Crofton House
- West Point Grey Academy
- St. George’s
- St. John’s
- University Hill
- Lord Byng
- Point Grey
There are also a number of colleges in Vancouver, including:
- University of British Columbia
- Langara College
- Emily Carr University of Art and Design
- Columbia College
- The Art Institute of Vancouver
- Regent College
- University Canada West
- Canadian College
- Vancouver College
Vancouver Crime Rates
As with most large populous city centers, crime rates tend to be higher compared to smaller towns with fewer residents. That being said, Vancouver crime rates have fallen considerably in recent years, many thanks goes to the large and well-funded Vancouver Police Department.
Actual crime rates break down to:
-Around 3.41 out of 1,000 residents are victims of a violent crime each year.
-Around 31.11 out of 1,000 residents are victims of a property crime each year.
More crime tends to occur in the city as opposed to surrounding Vancouver neighbourhoods, although some districts within Greater Vancouver rank safer than others.
Here are 9 of Vancouver’s best neighbourhoods in terms of safety:
- Mill Plain
- NE 99th st/ NE 152nd st
- Lake Shore
- Walnut Grover
- NE 10th Ave/NE 154th st
- NE 119th st/NE 72nd Ave
What Is It Like To Live In Vancouver?
There are many reasons Vancouver is ranked among the leading cities in the world for overall livability and quality of life. While the city has so much to offer in terms of convenience, Vancouver is also home to a whole lot of trees. In fact, it is widely known for its prosperous forestry industry thanks to all of the greenery surrounding the urban heart of Vancouver.
Vancouver is home to a growing number of major film production studios, which have placed the city on the map as one of the largest film production areas in all of North America. Hence how the city earned the nickname ‘Hollywood North’.
Thanks to the surplus of attractions and media attention, there are always fun events going on in the city. Still, locals greatly appreciate the fact you don’t have to go far to escape the buzz of urban life.
Vancouver is one of Canada’s warmest cities, but residents still get to enjoy the beauty of all 4 seasons. On average, the city sees around 11 days of snowfall per year, totalling an annual average of 38.1 cm of snow. As for rain, Vancouver gets an average 41.67 inches of rainfall per year.
The average annual temperature is 51.95 °F, and the average low temperature is 41.8 °F.
Arts, Culture & Nightlife In Vancouver
Vancouver has an abundance of art, culture and nightlife to inspire and delight locals and tourists alike. The Vancouver Art Gallery and the UBC Museum of Anthropology are two popular museums that attract a lot of attention each year.
Other critically acclaimed museums include the Science World British Columbia, Museum of Vancouver & H.R. MacMillan Space Center, as well as the Vancouver Maritime Museum and the Vancouver Aquarium.
When the museums close down for the night, Vancouver’s nightlife heats up, offering a vibrant and exciting scene for anyone that likes to go out.
Home Prices In Vancouver
Home prices in Vancouver are increasing faster than anywhere else in Canada. Prices are highest in the city, where the average price for a single-detached house is $1.83 million. According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, that’s a year-over-year increase of 40%.
Industry professionals can’t imagine another 40% increase like we saw this past year, although in the last few months the market has continued to see substantial growth. The rising price of homes in Vancouver marks a clear indication of a healthy housing market, as well as limited supply and high demand. Still, homebuyers are rightfully concerned about the rapid increase in market value over such a short time. After all, no one wants to get caught buying a house at the top of the market.
Just because housing prices continue to go up doesn’t mean you can’t score a good deal on a nice place. One way to save some money is to consider purchasing a home outside of the city, where prices are much more reasonable. If you can’t stand living too far from the action, a reputable Vancouver real estate agent can help you score a good deal.
Long-time realtors in Vancouver that we interviewed said “Single-family homes are going up in price because there are fewer and fewer of them. Condos, on the other hand, could be reaching a plateau.” In other words, you could save money buying a condo over a house, but in the long run, the house may offer a higher return on investment.
How To Find Your Dream Home In Vancouver
Ready to find the right home for you and your family in Vancouver? There are many different neighbourhoods to choose from, would you rather live in the heart of the city or the surrounding suburbs? Finding the ideal place to live that fits with your lifestyle, budget, and day-to-day needs are key to getting the most out of life in Vancouver.
HomeStoc can help you locate the perfect place to rent or buy in Vancouver. We simplify the buying, selling and renting process with our one-stop-shop for Vancouver listings. All of which is easy to browse by price, neighbourhood, number of bedrooms, and other user-friendly filters.
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