Victoria, BC is reputed to have a high cost of living. Compared to other Canadian cities this may be true, and relative to rural areas across the country it certainly is, but if you make global comparisons with cities of similar population, climate and opportunities you’ll find Victoria provides great value. |
If housing affordability is your sole measure, Victoria seems expensive. According to the 6th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey 2010, Victoria sits in 8th position on the table of severely unaffordable housing markets. To gain some perspective however, it must be noted that Vancouver is at the top of this list! And the survey, while being international in scope, only compares Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, The UK, and The US. Living in Canada, a website providing information about emigrating to and living in Canada, states, “Most people from the UK and Europe find the cost of living in Canada is significantly lower than their home country.” The basic cost for goods is lower, power and fuel are cheaper, and of course our health services are largely covered.
Balancing the higher housing costs in Victoria is the mild climate (and lower home heating costs than the rest of Canada), well paid employment and opportunities for post-secondary education, along with available amenities and overall quality of life offered in the city. The housing market in Victoria is expected to remain stable due to the constant influx of baby boomers retiring to Victoria, which demographics suggest is unlikely slow for the next 15 or 20 years.
Another calculation of the cost of living, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), tracks the retail price of a representative shopping basket of around 600 goods and services from an average household's expenditure: food, housing, transportation, furniture, clothing, and recreation. The CPI is measured against a base year (currently 2002) which is given a value of 100. In 2009 the CPI national average was 114.4, which means that what you could buy for $100 in 2002 cost $114.40 in 2009. The CPI in 2009 for Victoria was $111.90, significantly lower than the national average. More information about the CPI can be found at the Statistics Canada website.
So housing in Victoria is expensive compared to much of Canada, but the cost of living is not exorbitant. And within the Greater Victoria area there is a wide range of housing with differing price points. Given the variety of housing and price ranges available across Victoria’s municipalities, almost everybody can find a neighborhood that fits their housing budjet!
Generally, Victoria does have a higher cost of living than many parts of Canada, but it continues to be a popular place for people who want to relocate within the country because of the many benefits of living in Victoria. And if you take a global view, comparing Victoria to cities possessing similar standards of living, temperate climate, natural beauty, employment and education opportunities, you are sure to find living in Victoria really offers great value.
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Living in Victoria, cost of living, consumer price index, CPI,