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Thread: Relocation to Vancouver - How much more income needed

  1. #1
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    Default Relocation to Vancouver - How much more income needed

    I may have an opportunity to relocate to Vancouver for work. I'd be applying for a higher position so it'd be a promotion. Just wondering if the higher income is enough to offset the higher living costs or if it'll just be a wash. I'd be making about $15k more per year base rate, plus my OT rate would be a lot higher due to the greater hourly rate.
    Work is in Delta, which I've read is quite a bit cheaper than central Vancouver and less congested. I'd be renting a 2BR apartment or town home. I'm paying about $1400/mo in rent for an upscale 2BR apartment in Airdrie right now.
    I don't have much expenses other than about $20k in student loan debt. I live alone, and I'm hardly a year out of school so I don't plan on buying a home anytime soon.

    Is the move worth considering or should I stick to cowtown?

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    I've done the math a few times. There are some savings, but it is tough to have it work out in your favor. At the end of the day if you want to live in Vancouver / on the coast, you have to decide if the lifestyle benefit is worth the trade off.

    Yes - some potential savings on heating, car/commuting costs (will likely drive less there, etc.), and food seems to be cheaper.

    Another thing I've considered is to buy in the lower priced market (Calgary) and rent that place out as a 'hedge', then pay rent to live in Vancouver rather than buy into a really overheated market.

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    My rough estimate is you'll come out slightly ahead.
    You will learn to like rain and Indian food because many people refer to North Delta as "North Delhi".
    For the record, Indian food is fucking delicious!

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    Not totally 100% accurate, but gives you an idea.

    https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-livin...atchComparison

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    ...
    Last edited by Sugarphreak; 08-18-2019 at 04:02 PM.

  6. #6
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    My sister moved out there a couple years ago to work a relatively low paying job in DT Van. From what she told me:

    Food - there are much cheaper food to be found, but ends up spending way more because there are so many cheap options. No need to cook at home

    Commute - Her office is 10 mins walk away, so she doesn't drive anyway. She's saving alot on otherwise very expensive gas.

    Rent - luckily our family has a small apartment downtown so she's living there rent fee, otherwise there's no way she could afford to live DT Van. The rental rate for our 580sqf apartment is ~$2800 right now. Her co-worker were extremely shocked that she gets to live DT and doesn't have a roommate (keep in mind, more entry level position). However her condo fee is still $480/month, so higher than Calgary? maybe?

    Everything else is pretty comparable.. I say if you can make the same or even more money, go for it!! Most people take a pay cut to move to Van for the lifestyle.

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    Well, beyond has taught me that if you don't have $200k household income you are a fucking pauper in calgary. I'd assume you need 300k+ in Van to have equivelent lifestyle. Maybe only a little less in Delta.
    Double-meat sub dreams.

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    So here's some general observations I had from being in Vancouver for a couple months in 2017. I live in Calgary.


    Here's some observations I made.

    Pros:
    -Renting downtown condos/apartments can be way cheaper if you put effort in to the search. I was absolutely shocked by this, again, effort has to be put in.
    -Groceries are way cheaper (I don't normally look at prices, but I noticed I was spending way less and started to keep track. I was shocked, even with PST it was cheaper)
    -Downtown parking stalls are dirt cheap to rent. I could be wrong but I think I paid 75 or 100/month for a parking stall, don't know what Calgary is like now, but it used to be hella expensive
    -Everyone's making mad money and having fun
    -Way better restaurant service, Way better restaurant selection

    Cons:
    -Downtown street parking is a bitch if you're doing errands with multiple stops
    -If you need to stop somewhere 2-3 blocks away, you'll learn to walk
    -No Parkplus
    -Traffic congestion truly suckssss


    It is expensive to own in Vancouver, but I'd argue if renting. I get in to arguments with people all the time saying living in Vancouver is expensive, but I just don't see it. After my multi-month work stint, I was shocked to see how little I spent (and I was going out and doing stuff there, versus keeping a low profile in Calgary).
    Sig was pwned by Moderator!

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    I just returned to Alberta last year after nearly 8 years on the Island, and while I can't speak to the exact costs of living in Vancouver or in the GVRD specifically, I can offer the following feedback:

    - Income taxes are lower, however, you have to pay health care MSP premiums, though I understand the NDP is working to eliminate these, but they have also introduced a new payroll tax (I am not super familiar with the details of that as it's recent).
    - Property taxes are cheaper in BC.
    - Utilities... speaking from owning single detached homes out there and here... not much difference. Many homes on the south coast rely on inefficient electric heat (baseboard), unless you have a modern heat pump in the home, you'll pay a lot for heat in the winter. Electric hot water tanks, too. I compared my February 2018 BC Hydro bill to my February 2019 Enmax bill and I paid about $40 more here in Red Deer, remembering though that we had -30 type weather for most of the month. Water/sewer costs are cheaper in BC.
    - Car insurance... way cheaper in Alberta unless you're a new/young driver, then BC is cheaper. I pay about $100 a month less in Alberta.
    - BC has 7% PST... no sales tax in AB.
    - Gas prices are 30+ cents per litre higher in the Lower Mainland and on the Island.
    - If you're buying real estate in BC, you have to pay a land transfer tax... 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder.
    - Groceries are pretty much the same, perhaps a tiny bit cheaper in AB.
    - Wages are lower in BC. I came back to Alberta and started a similar role with a new company and I make more money fresh here than I did after 7+ years with the same company.

    Pros:
    - mild winter weather, much longer summers, beautiful surroundings, lots of things to do, lots of places to explore.

    Cons:
    - I find a lot of people are too laid back and/or lazy out there, Albertans have a far stronger work ethic. Work is secondary to leisure time, which I don't understand given how much income it takes to survive out there. If you're a strong proponent of pipelines, oil & gas, etc you'll be in the minority and feel like an outsider.

    All of that said, I actually miss the Island a lot and I'd definitely return one day when working becomes a secondary focus.

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    Delta is not 'Vancouver' as such and any comparisons dont really apply.

    The biggest increases will be PST and vehicle insurance - unless you're under 25 in which case you actually might save $$ on insurance.

    If you're young and don't care about the lifestyle so much at this point, its not a bad move, esp if it represents an advancement in your career.

  11. #11
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    Casual search in Kijiji seem to point to $1500 rent will get you a 2 BR basement suite. A house seems to be around $2000.

    So I don't think it's that far of a jump in prices compared to Richmond or Vancouver.

  12. #12
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    I moved to the GVRD (Coquitlam) about 1.5 years ago and just recently moved back. Few things:

    Car insurance is more expensive. I was paying about 1100$ more per year.

    Gas is more expensive but with Delta you should be close enough to the border to go across and fill up. I think it averaged about $1.50/l in my year I was there.

    Food costs are about the same provided you can cook. Few things are cheaper depending on what you eat.

    Apartment will likely run you 1600-2000 per month. Townhomes will be a bit more expensive. This is for the nicer ones. They use Craigslist out there so take a look and you will get a rough idea.

    Utilities are definitely cheaper. Most places will have water/heat included and you pay for hydro. I think I averaged about 30$ a month for hydro in an older building.

    The lifestyle is pretty good there. Tons of things to do/check out. The one thing that really got to me was the gloomyness. When it was Sunny it was awesome but when you have week long stretches of constant rain it gets to you.

    Like you I did my move to advance in my career. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and loved being able to escape the city within the city (some of the parks there are amazing). I ended up pretty much breaking even with my move salary wise but was a stepping stone to be able to continue to advance in my career.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the input guys, I ended up accepting the job offer. Apartments in South delta are rare to find so I may look towards Richmond. I'll be going the opposite way during rush hour so hopefully it won't be too bad. I'm budgeting around $1800/mo for a nice upscale 1 bedroom apartment. It's just a lot harder to find ones that allow cats. Calgary seems to be much more lenient on pet policies. Now I just have to figure out the moving logistics. Unfortunately the company wont offer me relocation expense assistance ��

  14. #14
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    I moved out here 3 years ago, have adjusted now, and we are now settled into a new house. As others have said, some stuff is cheaper, other stuff is not. My biggest piss offs are Property Transfer Tax (taking my money for doing what exactly??) and 12% tax on used car sales (wtf??).

    Overall, liking it out here more and more everyday. My brother was over this weekend and we were talking about how good it is to have flowers growing and be chilling outside on the deck in March. That alone is worth the move to BC for both of us. That also means summer car weather year round. Considering my car = my stress relief, this is huge. More time for hobbies.

    I work in Surrey. I lived in South Vancouver up until 2 weeks ago. The commute is easy, as you said, you're going the opposite way of rush hour.

    Shoot a PM if you need any help.

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