Vancouver and Life out West - Vancouver Rental Guide
Vancouver rests along the stunning seaport of Canada’s west coast. Its climate is warm, its people are friendly and its landscape is breathtaking. The beauty, however, does come at a cost. Vancouver is one of the most expensive places to rent in Canada but we promise it’s all worth it. It is culturally diverse and this is apparent through its cuisine, people and languages spoken in the area. Housing in Vancouver is quite dense as it is geographically constrained by sea and mountains. This limits the development in the area and potentially your rental options.
The climate in Vancouver is mild relative to central Canada. Out of all of Canada’s big cities, its winters are certainly the warmest. Winters are kind to those who live there. Thanks to the mountains that shield the cold air and the Pacific Ocean that retains the heat, winters in Vancouver are quite bearable. On average, there is snowfall eleven days a year. That’s just enough for you to enjoy the season without getting sick of it. When summer rolls around, it is dry, sunny and warm—what else could a person ask for?
For those of you looking for work after moving into your new home, Vancouver is one of Canada’s most thriving economies. With the largest industrial centre and a well-diversified economy, jobs are not hard to come by. Whether you’re into biotechnology, fuel or software, Vancouver has a job for you. Before you head over to the west, here’s a guide to renting in Vancouver:
Where to Live in Vancouver - The City with the West Coast Vibe
Vancouver offers a range of options in the rental space, however, snatching one may not be as easy as other Canadian cities. With around 70 neighbourhoods to choose from, we’re sure you will find one that will fit your lifestyle. With only 115 km 2 . of land, it will be easy to get to know your neighbours. Here are a few neighbourhoods to find apartments for rent in Vancouver:
While Downtown Vancouver is pretty small, it is packed with high-rise rentals. In the Coal Harbour nook, you’ll find retirees, foreigners and business execs. It’s right on the water’s edge providing serenity despite being right downtown. This paradox is also quite pricey so be prepared to pay. In Yaletown, you’ll find tons of leases. Here you’ll find university students living off their parents’ money and sleeping in their cozy apartments. Alternatively, you’ll find 30 somethings that have just started their business career. Then there’s Chinatown—probably the cheapest places to rent in the area.
Right next to Vancouver’s downtown core, you’ll find many variations of West End apartments for rent . It has a fair amount of apartments and is home to the city’s gay community. You will also find the heart of downtown shopping here. There’s hundreds of fantastic restaurants to try in the area too so if you’re looking to live here, make some room in your budget for some great food. If you currently own a car, this is not a great pick for you since there is limited parking in the area.
Just 20 minutes from Vancouver’s downtown is the Kerrisdale neighbourhood. Its main shopping center is known as the village which offers 200 unique shopping experiences along calm streets lined with trees. Nearby this area, you’ll also find grand older homes, newer developments, high-rise as well as low-rise apartments. The architecture in this area is quite the sight and living in any Kerrisdale apartment will be worth the price.
Want to know more about neighbourhoods in Vancouver? Check out our neighbourhood rental guides which will provide you more in-depth demographic information.
How do I Get Around in Vancouver?
Vancouver has many alternatives when it comes to public transportation. The Coast Mountain Bus company is completely electric and offers transportation across the Greater Vancouver area. There is also the SkyTrain that is available throughout the city—it’s a driverless light rapid transit system. The SkyTrain also connects directly to Vancouver’s airport, making it that much more convenient. An adult one-zone fare is $2.50.
Vancouver drivers are quite calm and courteous. However, parking your car isn’t as nice. Renting parking spots are expensive. A parking spot downtown can cost you anywhere around $150 to $375/month. Ouch! Thankfully there is residential street parking you can purchase from the city starting at around $40/year.
Walking & Biking
Surprisingly, 50% of trips are completed by walking, biking or transit in Vancouver. There have been improvements to the city’s cycling infrastructure that has helped promote biking to your destination. With the beautiful scenery that Vancouver has to offer, how could you not want to walk or bike to work?
What’s the Cost of Living in Vancouver?
Hold your purse strings because Vancouver is not cheap. It is easily one of the most expensive places to live in Canada right now. The cost of living in Vancouver is almost 70% higher than the Canadian average. However, we promise Vancouver is worth every penny if you’re looking for that west coast lifestyle and outdoorsy vibe. To help get you started on your monthly budget for living in Vancouver, we’ve broken down some common costs for you:
Rent & Utilities
Vancouver has a range of apartments with a range of expensive prices. The nicer the area, the more you’re going to pay so we’ll cover everything from small to large and expensive to less expensive.
On the high end of your budget, a 900-squarefoot place in an expensive area will cost approximately $2,400/month. That same apartment in a less expensive area will cost you $1,800/month. If you want to save some money, check out the studios that are approximately 500 square feet. In an affluent area, it will cost you $1,600/month, which mind you, is difficult to split with a roommate given the size. In a less expensive area, you’re looking at $1,100/month which is a lot more reasonable.
In terms of your basic utilities, it will cost you approximately $100 which includes heating, electricity and gas. Your Internet bill will cost about $60/month. Your mobile will cost you around $55/month. In total, your bare minimum housing expenses will cost approximately $1,400 /month. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, the availability of these affordable abodes may skew your budget. Be prepared to spend.
While driving is convenient, 50% of people are able to walk, bike or transit the way to their destination. A monthly pass in 2 zones is $131 for an adult. A One-way ride is $2.50. Pinch those pennies people, you’re going to need them.
Foodies, we’re calling your wallets for a nice meal in the heart of Vancouver. Start your morning right with a cappuccino and it will cost you about $4. There’s at least 5 days of work in a week, so set aside $80/month. A fast food lunch is going to cost you about $15/meal. This will likely happen once a week. Once a month your coworkers will coerce you into lunch, there goes $30. Last but not least, you’re going to want to go out for dinner with someone special. For the sake of your love life, we hope this happens once a month. Set aside another $60.
Back to the basics, we have your groceries. If your grocery list is balanced across all of your food groups, expect to spend about $200/month. Your total budget for food is $430/month.
Vancouver’s entertainment is lively, however you’ll likely find yourself having some free fun with nature most of the time. Its proximity to mountains, ocean, rivers, lakes and beaches make it hard to do anything else.
But if you really want to spend a dime, it will cost you $11 for a drink at a downtown club. If you have 4 of those a month, set aside $44. If you’re into movies, movie tickets are about $13.50/ticket. Thankfully for your budget, good movies come out about once a month. That brings your monthly budget for entertainment to $57.50. But we’re sure you won’t have to spend a dime to have fun in Vancouver.
Health & Fitness
The most important part of your budget comes last. A gym membership will cost you $65/month. However, with all the walking, hiking and biking you’ll likely be doing in Vancouver, you may not need one.
Crime in Vancouver
Most areas in Vancouver are generally very safe. Having said that, Vancouver crime rates are 41% higher than the national average. That doesn’t go to say that you can’t find neighbourhoods with lower crime. Using the crime map to search for safe neighbourhoods is a good tip.
To get a closer look at neighbourhood dynamics, check out our neighbourhood guides to find a place that is perfect for you.
How to find the Perfect Vancouver Apartment - The Vancouver Rental Guide
Ready to hike through the mountains in the West? Here’s a short guide to renting in Vancouver:
Create a list of what you need in an apartment and a list of what you want:
There’s a fine distinction between your needs and wants. You’re going to have to be real with yourself— define which ones are a necessity to function and which ones we you’d like to have. Let your search be led by your needs initially and make some hard decisions based on your wants.
Budget, budget, budget:
If there’s a city to take the time to make a budget, it’s Vancouver. Use the AreaVibes rental calculator to estimate your budget.
Know your stuff. Do your Research:
Finding the right place in Vancouver requires effort and research. Do a competitive scan of the area’s rental prices. For any neighbourhood specific data, check out the AreaVibes neighbourhood guides.
Check out apartments:
Finally, get out there and check out your short list of apartments. Act fast when you find something you like and treat your interactions with your landlord like an interview. There are other eligible tenants out there.
Collect your documents:
AreaVibes created a simple way to send a detailed renter application with credit checks to streamline your application process. Try it out for yourself!
We hope our guide to renting in Vancouver will put your best foot forward on your home hunting journey!