Moving to Vancouver?

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Moving to Vancouver

If you’re thinking of moving to Vancouver, you’re in good company! Immigrants and expats from all over the globe are drawn there for various good reasons. This can be the beginning of a great new life in the True North! We’ll tell you all about housing and visa regulations.
Vancouver can captivate anyone, with its diverse neighborhoods and suburbs for every taste.

At a Glance:

  • The most popular residential neighborhoods to live in are those west of the downtown area. However, more expats are deciding to move to the surrounding suburbs.
  • The minimal rental period is generally one year and most landlords will request a security deposit of one or two months’ rent.
  • In order to assume Canadian citizenship, you will need 12 months of skilled work experience, as well as a good understanding of the country and of the English language.


In Vancouver, you have the choice between many attractive neighborhoods, each with its own distinct feel and population mix. When making your decision of moving to Vancouver, find a community that fits you and your lifestyle. Also consider commuting times and public transportation connections to your office or your children’s school.

If possible, visit a place in person first and get a feel for the location and neighborhood. As there are many temporary housing options available, it is a good idea to start searching for a new permanent home after actually moving to Vancouver.

Where to Move? The Most Popular Residential Areas

The neighborhoods west of the downtown area are among the most popular residential areas in the city proper. In Kitsilano in particular, residents enjoy the sandy beaches right at their doorstep and a beautiful view of the nearby mountains. Other attractive options include Vancouver’s northern districts, across the Lions Gate Bridge.

The city’s most exclusive residential areas are found in the West End, close to the University of British Columbia. West Point Grey and Shaughnessy are known as Canada’s most expensive neighborhoods. Both boast many older, luxurious homes.

More and more expats decide against moving to Vancouver itself, preferring the nearby communities of the metro area. Housing is considerably cheaper there. Most places are well connected via public transportation, and commuting times are acceptable. Popular communities among expats include Burnaby, Surrey and the Tri Cities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.

House or Apartment: Different Types of Accommodation

If you are considering moving to Vancouver’s busy downtown, high-rise apartment buildings and condominiums are your typical accommodation options. There is also a good choice of townhouses and single family houses available to you if you move to Vancouver’s outer districts and suburbs.

Normally, the minimum rental period is one year, except for short-term housing. You should keep in mind that most landlords ask for a security deposit of one or two months’ rent and some may also ask for references. Please note that cited rent prices usually do not include utility charges!

There are both furnished and unfurnished rental homes available. However, even unfurnished apartments usually come with basic appliances such as an oven and a stove.

What It Will Cost: Rent Prices in Vancouver

In relation to average incomes, Vancouver has the second-highest housing costs among cities worldwide. Buying a home in Vancouver will currently set you back about 1,000,000 CAD. Rent prices are similarly high, which has turned into a social problem in Vancouver, with many families turning their back on the city in search of more affordable housing.

Even if you don’t need a lot of space, the city is quite expensive. The average price of one-bedroom apartments and suites downtown is usually around 1,950 CAD per month. If you’d like to move to Vancouver’s more exclusive areas or are looking for a place with an ocean view, expect to pay 1,800 CAD or more. Three-bedroom apartments or townhouses are available from 2,070 CAD.

As a rule of thumb, rent prices decrease steadily, the further away from downtown Vancouver you are looking. Moving to the suburbs such as Coquitlam and Surrey may only cost you half of what you would be paying in central Vancouver: from 825 CAD for a one-bedroom apartment and around 1,500 CAD for a three-bedroom home.

Where to Look to Find Your Future Home

Vancouver’s newspapers, such as The Vancouver Sun, have classified sections and are your best friends for the housing search in Vancouver. Classifieds and some general hints on housing in Canada can also be found online at

As in many other North American cities, craigslist and Kijiji can also be valuable resources for people moving to Vancouver. Here you can look for homes as well as appliances, furniture, even jobs. Their Vancouver sites have hundreds of new postings of apartments and housing for rent on an average weekday.

If you want to save yourself some of the hassle of house hunting and shorten the process of moving to Vancouver, you can always consult one of the city’s many real estate agencies. This holds for buying as well as for renting a new home.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Andrey Vasilyev

"When moving to a huge city such as Vancouver, InterNations made it easy for me to find fellow expats and the network that I needed."

Amarilis Castillo

"InterNations make networking in such a large city so much easier with their events and extensive information."

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