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Home » Housing, Jobs, & Money

Want to live in Vancouver? Here’s how

Submitted by on December 8, 2010 – 8:55 pm2 Comments

We recently posted about Vancouver’s esca­lat­ing hous­ing prices and the num­ber of peo­ple mov­ing to Vancouver for the “lifestyle” rather than for work.

But if it’s a job — rather than a search for invest­ment prop­erty — that’s bring­ing you to Vancouver, how are you going to find a reasonably-​​priced place to live?


Renting a home

Anyone relo­cat­ing to a new city — or coun­try — would do well to rent before you buy. That’s good advice for new­com­ers to Vancouver, too.

If you’re look­ing for a short-​​term rental, par­tic­u­larly a fur­nished home, try the University of British Columbia Faculty Association’s hous­ing clas­si­fieds. While many of the prop­er­ties would be suit­able for vis­it­ing fac­ulty or other pro­fes­sion­als, you don’t have to be affil­i­ated with the uni­ver­sity to access the listings.

Other sites that list short-​​term rentals in Vancouver, by the day, week, or month, are AirBnB and Make Yourself At Home.

Otherwise, Vancouver Craigslist is the king of local rental list­ings, and other rental resources include Kijiji and the Vancouver Apartment Guide.

Don’t for­get good old-​​fashioned shoe leather — walk­ing around the neigh­bor­hoods where you want to live. Look for “For rent” signs, or check the bul­letin boards of the local cof­fee shops, laun­dro­mats, and universities.

One other tip for renters: In BC, the secu­rity (dam­age) deposit can­not be more than half a month’s rent.

Buying a home

When you’re ready to buy a home in the Vancouver area, start by research­ing neigh­bor­hoods around town.

A good place to begin is the City of Vancouver’s Community Profiles page, which has links to pro­files of 23 dif­fer­ent neigh­bor­hoods. Home prices on the East Side of Vancouver are sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper than those on the West Side.

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, as of July 2013, a detached house on Vancouver’s East Side was aver­ag­ing $844,600, while a detached house on the West Side aver­aged just over $2 mil­lion. Similarly, East Side apart­ments and con­dos were sell­ing for an aver­age price of $306,500, while on the West Side, the aver­age was $476,000.

But you may want to con­sider the sub­urbs if you’re look­ing for a less expen­sive home. As you might expect, prices tend to drop the fur­ther you go from downtown.

Some of the sub­ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties with the low­est aver­age home prices include Maple Ridge ($460,600), Pitt Meadows ($505,600), and Port Coquitlam ($550,400). Just be pre­pared for a long com­mute if you work in down­town Vancouver.

Most Vancouver-​​area homes for sale are listed on Realtylink​.org. Realtylink also has a “Find a Realtor” sec­tion, but the best way to find a real estate agent is to ask friends or col­leagues for recommendations.

More infor­ma­tion

For more resources for relo­cat­ing to Vancouver, have a look at our Top 10 Places to Live: Vancouver page. And search all our Vancouver posts here.

For gen­eral infor­ma­tion about rent­ing or buy­ing a home in Canada, see the Newcomer’s Guide to Canadian Housing from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Also have a look at the British Columbia Newcomers’ Guide to Resources and Services.

The Tenant Survival Guide, cre­ated by BC’s Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre, is a valu­able source of infor­ma­tion about legal issues around rent­ing an apart­ment or home in British Columbia.

And if you have other tips for Vancouver new­com­ers, please leave a com­ment and let us know.

Updated August 2013

Vancouver West End photo by stew­art (flickr)

2 Comments »

  • Carolyn Ali says:

    Good old-​​fashioned shoe leather” is great advice for find­ing a place to rent. Where I live in Kitsilano, a hip Vancouver neigh­bour­hood, land­lords don’t need to adver­tise in print or online. So many peo­ple want to live here that word of mouth and lawn signs do the trick.

    Best advice is to walk (or drive) the hood at the start of the month before you want to rent, or a week or two before the pre­vi­ous month’s end, and look for For Rent signs. They don’t stay up for long.