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Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Old Jun 5th 2023, 4:34 pm
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Post Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Hi All, I have been offered a transfer through my work to Vancouver working as a Construction Manager. I'm after some realistic opinions on whether I can live a comfortable life or not. I have asked the question on social media groups but I keep getting conflicting opinions but of course I do not know what those individuals circumstances are (e.g. salaries).

I'm comparing cos of living to the South of England and not the North, I currently live just outside London so living costs aren't exactly cheap for me in the UK, my tiny 3 bed house is worth £500k+ (neighbors opposite with same house just sold for this) and utilities are silly money. I will be moving to Vancouver with my Wife and will be 11 month old daughter. I have been offered a salary of $110k my wife will be working as well but not until we have found a kindergarten spot for my daughter. I have been looking at 2 bed apartments for the first year at around $3,500 per month in the tricities, will I be able to afford this on just my salary along with running a car (gas for work is fully expensed to the project). My wife's profession pays anything from $70-$130k depending on what grade she can get. When she is settled into work our long term aim will be to rent a 3 bed+ townhouse. With a combined salary of circa $200k would we be able to afford a decent lifestyle (live in a townhouse or similar big enough to accommodate guests, go skiing, spend some weekends travelling the nearby areas like Vancouver Island and Kelowna).

Basically I live a fairly comfortable life in the UK but I lived in BC 10 years ago and have always wanted to go back for the long term (property was a lot cheaper then). Now I have a little one I cant be slumming it in house shares nor in a small cramped basement suite...quality of life is paramount and do not want to move and feel I have gone backwards due to finances.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated because I'm going round in circles, the more I research the more I'm freaking my self out.

Thanks
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Old Jun 5th 2023, 6:35 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Originally Posted by Mark109
Hi All, I have been offered a transfer through my work to Vancouver working as a Construction Manager. I'm after some realistic opinions on whether I can live a comfortable life or not. I have asked the question on social media groups but I keep getting conflicting opinions but of course I do not know what those individuals circumstances are (e.g. salaries).

I'm comparing cos of living to the South of England and not the North, I currently live just outside London so living costs aren't exactly cheap for me in the UK, my tiny 3 bed house is worth £500k+ (neighbors opposite with same house just sold for this) and utilities are silly money. I will be moving to Vancouver with my Wife and will be 11 month old daughter. I have been offered a salary of $110k my wife will be working as well but not until we have found a kindergarten spot for my daughter. I have been looking at 2 bed apartments for the first year at around $3,500 per month in the tricities, will I be able to afford this on just my salary along with running a car (gas for work is fully expensed to the project). My wife's profession pays anything from $70-$130k depending on what grade she can get. When she is settled into work our long term aim will be to rent a 3 bed+ townhouse. With a combined salary of circa $200k would we be able to afford a decent lifestyle (live in a townhouse or similar big enough to accommodate guests, go skiing, spend some weekends travelling the nearby areas like Vancouver Island and Kelowna).

Basically I live a fairly comfortable life in the UK but I lived in BC 10 years ago and have always wanted to go back for the long term (property was a lot cheaper then). Now I have a little one I cant be slumming it in house shares nor in a small cramped basement suite...quality of life is paramount and do not want to move and feel I have gone backwards due to finances.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated because I'm going round in circles, the more I research the more I'm freaking my self out.

Thanks
I would not want to attempt to live in Vancouver with a child on $200,000. I don't think I could do that in small town Ontario. Certainly skiing would not come into the picture.



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Old Jun 5th 2023, 7:15 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Originally Posted by dbd33
I would not want to attempt to live in Vancouver with a child on $200,000. I don't think I could do that in small town Ontario. Certainly skiing would not come into the picture.
Thanks, I appreciate the honesty. Things like skiing and utilising what BC has to offer is a big deal for me. I don’t want to put my family through the hassle if I can’t afford to do anything.
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Old Jun 5th 2023, 7:25 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Originally Posted by Mark109
Thanks, I appreciate the honesty. Things like skiing and utilising what BC has to offer is a big deal for me. I don’t want to put my family through the hassle if I can’t afford to do anything.
My daughter in Vancouver, a prosecutor for the Feds, and her husband, a partner in a national law firm, can rarely afford to ski. They were big skiers as students but packed it in when they graduated and had to take jobs. I think there are very few people who live in Vancouver and have the kind of lifestyle you picture who make their money in Vancouver.
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Old Jun 5th 2023, 8:36 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

You know what, I think this is do-able. I’m not sure what the costs of skiing are but lots of students/young folks hit up the local hills (Cypress/Seymour) by bus so I imagine if you have all your own kit lift passes plus getting there are your only cost.

car insurance is very expensive in BC, but keep to one economical car and claim your mileage and you should be ok.

Daycare and after school care waitlists are long in BC but costs for small children have come down since subsidies.

Rent will be your biggest cost. Will you rent out your house in the U.K.? Look at Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam.

I think this could be worth doing so long as you have a reasonable financial cushion because you are staying with your current employer and getting good experience. So long as a mistake/problem won’t ruin you I’d give it a shot. Your employer might cover your accommodation costs for a few weeks at the beginning.

many people move to Canada without the security of a job offer and make it through. Best of luck, whatever you decide!

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Old Jun 5th 2023, 9:01 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Originally Posted by tweed_wearer
You know what, I think this is do-able. I’m not sure what the costs of skiing are but lots of students/young folks hit up the local hills (Cypress/Seymour) by bus so I imagine if you have all your own kit lift passes plus getting there are your only cost.

car insurance is very expensive in BC, but keep to one economical car and claim your mileage and you should be ok.

Daycare and after school care waitlists are long in BC but costs for small children have come down since subsidies.

Rent will be your biggest cost. Will you rent out your house in the U.K.? Look at Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam.

I think this could be worth doing so long as you have a reasonable financial cushion because you are staying with your current employer and getting good experience. So long as a mistake/problem won’t ruin you I’d give it a shot. Your employer might cover your accommodation costs for a few weeks at the beginning.

many people move to Canada without the security of a job offer and make it through. Best of luck, whatever you decide!
We have friends who live and own a house in Whistler so we have access to their place for the odd weekend. We ski whistler every year from the UK so fully aware of lift ticket prices etc. (now I have a little one I doubt I’ll be doing this for a while haha).

Tbh I was looking at Burnaby (where my office is), Coquitlam and port moody because these places suit our style of living. We are not really interested in Downtown, we want to be surrounded by trees and mountains.

We looked into renting our house but but unfortunately we have to pay tax because we will be residing abroad. The figures worked out that we won’t be bringing in enough after tax to cover our mortgage.
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Old Jun 5th 2023, 9:56 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

if you want to do this, it could work on the basis that you make sacrifices and aim for break-even until your wife gets into work. Some things to note:-

1. if your wife is part of a regulated profession, it will probably be very slow and expensive to re-qualify (I know this from experience)
2. getting your child into daycare will be a heck of a job but once it's done you're all set
3. you will probably not be able to get credit for a car loan so aim to buy second hand with cash and choose something that runs on standard gasoline/diesel not premium (usually the German brands)
4. try to enjoy the outdoors as free entertainment - eating out, bars, etc, are becoming much more expensive
5. if you file taxes as a Canadian resident you can deduct mortgage interest from the rent. If the house is in both names your wife can claim some of the income and it will be taxed at a very low rate until she starts working. Maybe you included this in your calculation

I think the success of this will depend on your wanting to do it for the long term and to a lesser extent how easy you can get your child into daycare and your wife into work. Having one job lined up with an existing company will make all the difference.
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Old Jun 5th 2023, 10:12 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

So I left Vancouver area last week, to move to the Okanagan.

We had a nice 3 bed house backing onto a nature reserve it in North Delta and cost us $3400 in rent.

If you're happy to either rent or buy a townhome in the suburbs - its definitely doable on $200k. we made ends meet just about on $130k + $15k in foreign income, but I had a lot of commuting costs etc (2 dogs, no kids for reference). The question for me would be is this a long term move (PR/citizenship etc)or just something for a few years, for a few years not sure its worth the upheaval costs and the tight start, feel once you've been here a while things get considerably easier.

One thing that strikes me is the salary they have offered you seems pretty awful, skilled labourers in Vancouver are clearing $1600 a week on construction sites without doing much OT, would hope an experienced manager brought in from overseas would be getting $150k a year, unless you were on some super good deal with hours etc.
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Old Jun 5th 2023, 11:31 pm
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

There will always be conflicting opinions, depends on what needs we each have. When we moved we expected a step down for a while, it was part of moving country, we lived frugally for quite a few years.
If you are getting car allowance, depending how they structure it, could be a taxable benefit. Reimbursement for travel from home to an office or jobsite is taxable benefit. If you drive home to the office (on your dime) then to the jobsite and are reimbursed mileage from the office to the jobsite, that is not a taxable benefit.
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Old Jun 6th 2023, 4:21 am
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Getting daycare for the little one could be VERY difficult in Metro Vancouver, including the cities where you are looking.

Yes there are subsidies, but the daycare spaces are just not there. There are regular stories of mums who have put their names on multiple waiting lists as soon as they have seen the 8 week scan ......... and have still not got the child into one 18 months to 2 years later. According to the latest survey, it seems that there are spaces for 1 in 4 or 1 in 3 children in most of Metro. Richmond is the best from that point of view with spaces for 1 in 2 children.

That is where your plan might fail, and the question becomes could you live on your salary alone for 2 years?
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Old Jun 6th 2023, 4:57 am
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Originally Posted by Stumpylegs
So I left Vancouver area last week, to move to the Okanagan.

We had a nice 3 bed house backing onto a nature reserve it in North Delta and cost us $3400 in rent.

If you're happy to either rent or buy a townhome in the suburbs - its definitely doable on $200k. we made ends meet just about on $130k + $15k in foreign income, but I had a lot of commuting costs etc (2 dogs, no kids for reference). The question for me would be is this a long term move (PR/citizenship etc)or just something for a few years, for a few years not sure its worth the upheaval costs and the tight start, feel once you've been here a while things get considerably easier.

One thing that strikes me is the salary they have offered you seems pretty awful, skilled labourers in Vancouver are clearing $1600 a week on construction sites without doing much OT, would hope an experienced manager brought in from overseas would be getting $150k a year, unless you were on some super good deal with hours etc.
we would be looking at PR and it being a long term thing. I like Okanagan but unfortunately my company doesn’t have an office there.

yeah salary is in question at the moment. I believe it’s because I don’t have and Canadian experience or maybe they’re just trying to get me on the cheap (who knows). The offer isn’t exactly a no brainer in terms of financial gain which has made our decision soo hard.
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Old Jun 6th 2023, 4:59 am
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Originally Posted by tweed_wearer
if you want to do this, it could work on the basis that you make sacrifices and aim for break-even until your wife gets into work. Some things to note:-

1. if your wife is part of a regulated profession, it will probably be very slow and expensive to re-qualify (I know this from experience)
2. getting your child into daycare will be a heck of a job but once it's done you're all set
3. you will probably not be able to get credit for a car loan so aim to buy second hand with cash and choose something that runs on standard gasoline/diesel not premium (usually the German brands)
4. try to enjoy the outdoors as free entertainment - eating out, bars, etc, are becoming much more expensive
5. if you file taxes as a Canadian resident you can deduct mortgage interest from the rent. If the house is in both names your wife can claim some of the income and it will be taxed at a very low rate until she starts working. Maybe you included this in your calculation

I think the success of this will depend on your wanting to do it for the long term and to a lesser extent how easy you can get your child into daycare and your wife into work. Having one job lined up with an existing company will make all the difference.
luckily she’s not in a job where she needs to train. She’s a statistician but has a lot of experience working in London for Market research company’s so she’ll be looking for work in that sector.

yeah I factored in the car purchase, figured no credit rating will be an issue to get a sensible deal on finance.
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Old Jun 6th 2023, 5:01 am
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Originally Posted by scilly
Getting daycare for the little one could be VERY difficult in Metro Vancouver, including the cities where you are looking.

Yes there are subsidies, but the daycare spaces are just not there. There are regular stories of mums who have put their names on multiple waiting lists as soon as they have seen the 8 week scan ......... and have still not got the child into one 18 months to 2 years later. According to the latest survey, it seems that there are spaces for 1 in 4 or 1 in 3 children in most of Metro. Richmond is the best from that point of view with spaces for 1 in 2 children.

That is where your plan might fail, and the question becomes could you live on your salary alone for 2 years?
My friend did mention that she had to wait until both her kids were 15 months old until they went in childcare. She also said the subsidised nurseries are like unicorns haha
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Old Jun 6th 2023, 8:42 am
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Originally Posted by tweed_wearer
5. if you file taxes as a Canadian resident you can deduct mortgage interest from the rent. If the house is in both names your wife can claim some of the income and it will be taxed at a very low rate until she starts working. Maybe you included this in your calculation
Not sure if I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but income from a UK property is taxed in the UK, regardless of where the landlord is. Mortgage interest can't be deducted for UK tax purposes, unless the property is owned by a Ltd company.
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Old Jun 6th 2023, 8:43 am
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Default Re: Realistic Opinion of Vancouver Living Costs

Originally Posted by Mark109
we would be looking at PR and it being a long term thing. I like Okanagan but unfortunately my company doesn’t have an office there.

yeah salary is in question at the moment. I believe it’s because I don’t have and Canadian experience or maybe they’re just trying to get me on the cheap (who knows). The offer isn’t exactly a no brainer in terms of financial gain which has made our decision soo hard.
Would it be enough to get a visa? I know nothing about salaries for Construction Managers in Canada, but if it's on the low side than they wouldn't get a LMIA granted anyway, they must be paying you fair market rate for that.
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