The Pros & Cons Of Whether It's Worth Moving To One Of The Most Expensive Cities In Canada

I've lived in four different provinces, so I have some thoughts!

Western Canada Editor
Morgan Leet on a beach. Right: Vancouver, B.C.

Morgan Leet on a beach. Right: Vancouver, B.C.

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

I moved to the city ranked as having the third least affordable housing market in the entire world, and one of the most expensive in Canada.

Although I was warned by literally everyone how expensive Vancouver, B.C., was, you can't really understand it until you move here. Then, reports on just how unaffordable it is in the city come out, and it can be pretty discouraging.

Despite the housing being unbearably expensive though, people are still moving to Vancouver. According to Statistics Canada, it actually has a faster population growth rate than both Toronto and Montreal.

It's kind of puzzling when you think about it. I mean, why the hell would so many people be moving to the least affordable place? As one of those people, I can tell you — it's actually worth it (kinda).

The pros

I've lived in four different provinces now, and can confidently say that Vancouver is like no other place in Canada. It's just how people described it to me before I moved here — absolutely stunning.

Just walking down the street, you get views of the mountains and the ocean. It's the perfect mix of city-life convenience while also being close to nature. In the winter you get to avoid the snow but can just go up to the mountains whenever you miss it.

I'll never forget a day that I had when I first moved here. I started the day with a hike on a mountain in North Van that looked like a winter wonderland and gave me an incredible view.

Morgan Leet and her friend on a snowy hike.Morgan Leet and her friend on a snowy hike.Morgan Leet | Narcity

Then I went out shopping in the busy downtown area and hit up a yummy lunch spot. I finished the day swimming in the Pacific Ocean at Wreck Beach.

I got to be immersed in nature, high up in the mountains, and then an hour later be in the city core. Plus, you're right by the ocean the entire time.

That one day basically sums up how in Vancouver, you can have it all.

The very real cons

Obviously, the housing prices are a big con here. Everything else is not shockingly high for a major city, but renting — or buying — here will definitely be a hit on your bank account.

Being in a big city in general, you tend to spend more money. All the perks of having great restaurants and bars at your doorstep can add up.

Some people may also be concerned about the crime rate in Vancouver, but I've been lucky to always feel very safe. Depending on how you feel about it though, this could be a major con.

Also, the rainy season sucks – a lot.

Is it actually worth it?

Moving to Vancouver, in my opinion, is totally worth the prices. There is a very strong but at the end of that sentence, though.

I don't think living in Vancouver long-term is sustainable for most people.

When I settle down someday and buy a home, I just don't think I could justify spending so much money for a mediocre home in Vancouver when I could get something way better for less money on the East Coast.

That being said, there are some compromises. Living in smaller towns in B.C. gives you access to a lot of the things that make Vancouver great without the high cost.

If you're looking to explore the best that Canada has to offer though, there is no doubt that you have to call Vancouver home for at least a few years.

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