It’s been all over the news recently – Vancouver has earned the dubious honour of being the most expensive city in North America in which to live. Those of us who are living in Victoria can be thankful that our fair city, while not inexpensive by Canadian standards, hasn’t the same affordability issues that Vancouver is facing.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey, Vancouver topped the list of pricey North American cities, ranking 37th in the world, ahead of Los Angeles, the most expensive city in the U.S. at 42nd in the world standings. Surprisingly, New York came in 47th. A weak U.S. dollar and modest inflation have pushed down the relative cost of living in major American cities.
The Worldwide Cost of Living is a bi-annual survey comparing more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services. They include food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs.
A big factor contributing to the high cost of living in Vancouver is the price of real estate, with housing prices described by Vancouver Sun columnist Barbara Yaffe as “wacko”. Vancouver is a desirable place to live, with a mild climate, all the big city amenities a person could want and it has become a target for (often foreign) real estate speculation, leading to year over year increasing prices in spite of global economic difficulties.
Victoria, on the other hand, has a more balanced real estate market, and housing prices that are certainly a notch or two lower than the mainland. Our island location is probably one of the main reasons for this, and most of us who are living in Victoria are okay with that! Oh, and it rains less here!