Cost of living in British Columbia
As in Ontario, the cost of living in British Columbia is high. Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but also one of the most popular cities with an often praised high quality of life. Victoria, the provincial capital, and Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley are cheaper and very pleasant cities.
For example, the average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is around $2,100, which is almost the same as the Toronto average ($ 2,230).
In terms of income tax, all of Canada is considered to have extremely high provincial tax rates in addition to a federal tax rate of 15%. However, compared to the rest of Canada, British Columbia boasts the lowest tax rate at 11%. By comparison, Quebec has a provincial tax rate of 11.8% and Nova Scotia at 16%.
British Columbia is one of four Canadian provinces that levy a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) in addition to the Canada-wide Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate of 5%.
Why are houses and apartments so expensive in British Columbia?
Land is expensive near Vancouver because everyone wants to live there, which drives the price up. Also there are offshore investors buying land. The city itself is bounded by the sea, so it can’t expand north or west. Downtown can’t expand anywhere, it’s almost an island. That also puts pressure on price, given strong demand.
Supply or lack of it in the area of Canada with the most benign climate is driving the astronomical real estate prices and rents in Vancouver and Victoria. This situation is becoming a problem for Vancouver businesses because young people cannot afford the prices and therefore cannot live anywhere near where they work in the City of Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Richmond. Wealthy people from outside the Lower Mainland are prepared to pay millions for a modest house, but young British Columbians cannot.