Have you always dreamed about packing all your stuff, getting the family together and moving to beautiful Vancouver? Maybe this year you are finally going to look into what the Vancouver real estate market has to offer. Good for you! But before you take a leap of faith, here are 5 things you definitely need to consider before moving to Rain City, BC:
One of the Most Livable Cities in the World
For the past decade Vancouver has been one of the top contenders in the Global Livability Ranking published each year by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The analysis is based on 30 different factors, taking into consideration the stability, infrastructure, education, health and environment of each city.
Mercer’s annual rankings have also given a nod to Van‘s excellent living conditions, rating the city among the top 5 worldwide in the past couple of years. With a mild climate, a hard-to-beat infrastructure, strong education and health care systems, easy access to nature and enviable urban planning (try Googling ‘Vancouverism’), it’s easy to see why Vancouver keeps popping up at the top of these lists!
The Housing Market Is Competitive
High quality of life comes at a cost, and Vancouver currently has the most expensive housing market in Canada. But the good news is that attempts have been made to moderate local market conditions, at least a little. In late 2016 the city implemented a 15% foreign buyers tax to try to keep non-Canadians from boosting home sales and inflating prices. In addition, eligibility criteria for loans will be stricter this year and interest rates are rising. It was predicted that the restrictions would bring results and a noticeable drop in home prices in the second half of 2018, but the average residential price in Vancouver is now reckoned to be $1,056,500, and only time will tell.
The other option is renting, which can be challenging considering the vacancy rate of rental properties is currently around 1%. But even though demand is high, new condos and development complexes are being built all the time, so don’t give up the search! When you decide on a place, be aware that homes and apartments are generally leased out for 6 or 12 months, depending on the landlord. They usually come unfurnished, but this gives you lots of scope to make your rental your home.
There Is a Neighbourhood for You!
Despite its high-quality reputation not every area of Vancouver offers exactly the same conditions, but there will be one that’s right for you. The trendiest part of the city is its Downtown, which offers chic bars and gourmet restaurants, but its condo units are some of the most expensive in all Canada. If you like beach life, another popular neighbourhood is Kitsilano, close to Downtown and popular with young families and students alike.
For a quiet, family-oriented area, with comparatively good-value apartments, larger rooms and even homes with gardens, have a look at South Van. Senior citizens often gravitate to Kerrisdale, which offers comparatively affordable condo units and houses away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. If your budget is not a match for the city’s more fancy neighbourhoods, you might also like to think about East Hastings and Downtown Eastside.
Top Quality Services and Entertainment
Vancouver‘s cost of living may have been the highest among North American cities in 2013, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, but taking into account the flawless transportation system (partly thanks to the SkyTrain), great infrastructure, a model urban design and a prime healthcare system, the city’s high prices may be justifiable.
Vancouver also has a strong arts and culture scene, having more than a dozen theatre companies, museums, exhibitions and dance studios scattered across the city. With a vibrant nightlife, you can enjoy your favorite music along with excellent dining in the myriad of nightclubs, bars, restaurants and pubs found mainly in the Granville Entertainment district. In addition, the city is also famous for colourful festivals like The Celebration of Light, the Vancouver International Film Festival and its jazz and folk music festivals.
The Future Is Bright
The education system in Vancouver is known for being strong and reliable. You can send your children to either public or private schools, and both types offer great academic possibilities. The University of British Columbia is among the top 50 universities in the World, offering first-rate college education.
Similarly to the housing market, employment is also pretty competitive in Vancouver. With that being said, however, there are still enough opportunities for residents, regardless of whether their talents lead them to being tradesmen, office clerks or managers in famous multinational companies.
Finally, Vancouver can really prove that it is looking to the future, as it is set on becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020. Through the Greenest City Action Plan, it has already completed 80% of its priority actions, which include reducing pollution and waste and increasing air and water quality, among others.
All in all, even if prices are high, Vancouver is still one of the very best cities to live in. The top quality services and entertainment, close proximity to nature, overall high standards and many good opportunities ensure a very good standard of living. If you decide to take the plunge and move to Vancouver, do your homework beforehand, and you’ll definitely be rewarded.