Cost Of Living Burnaby, BC: The Definitive Guide For Non-Residents

Burnaby is a top-rated and sought-after destination because of its proximity to Vancouver. Located 13 km away from the downtown area, Burnaby has become a hotspot for people looking to escape the high costs associated with Vancouver. As such, there are a lot of shopping destinations, restaurants, and other fun things to do within the city limits. With so many people are looking at Burnaby, the cost of living in Burnaby, BC, has also increased.

To better understand what the cost of living in Burnaby is like compared with Vancouver, we'll look at the expenses across ten broad categories. These ten categories should be reasonably representative of how an average family will spend their money and will, therefore, be indicative of what it is like to live there!

·   Rental Prices

·   Housing Prices (buying to own)

·   Grocery Costs

·   Dining Costs (when you want to go out instead of eating in)

·   Utilities

·   Gas Prices

·   Median Income

·   Property Taxes

·   Commute

·   Childcare Costs

Rental Prices

One of the highest expenditures for any family living in Vancouver will be rent. If you are looking to rent an apartment within the city, you can expect to pay $2,200 per month for a simple one-bedroom apartment. That's the average rent price, so to get into the most beautiful areas will run you even more. Two-bedroom apartments (which are much more conducive for families) cost upwards of $3,000 per month. Rent, unfortunately, has become mostly unaffordable for the average family in the Vancouver city limits.

Given the fact that Burnaby is relatively close to downtown Vancouver, it should come as no surprise that rents in Burnaby are less, but not too far off what you would pay in the downtown area. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,600 per month. A two-bedroom unit costs approximately $2,400. Each of these prices represents a 20% discount from what you'd pay to be right in the city. Having that extra $500 or so per month certainly makes the cost of living in Burnaby less, but you should still expect to pay a non-trivial amount of your income towards rent if you choose that path within this city.

Housing Prices Reduce The Cost Of Living In Burnaby

Housing within the main cities in British Columbia is a hot topic. Many observers decry the high cost of housing within the city limits. A detached home currently runs for $2.2 million. Even the cheapest option, a condo, costs a stunning $787,000. If you want a townhome, you should expect to pay approximately $1.2 million. As a family looking to relocate to Vancouver, paying these sums of money to buy a home may be quite challenging.

As such, many would-be homeowners have been looking outside of the city limits. Since Burnaby is relatively close, it makes a logical choice for people who are deterred by the housing costs in Vancouver. Unfortunately, the desirability of Burnaby means that, while there is a discount on housing, there isn't a discount quite like can be found in other regions (like Langley or Surrey, for example). A condo will cost approximately $600,000. Townhomes cost $855,000, and detached homes cost an elevated $1.5 million. While these prices are technically more affordable than Vancouver, they do not represent a low cost of living by any means.

Grocery Costs

The proximity to Vancouver has also impacted the cost of goods within the city as well. According to Numbeo, groceries are only very slightly cheaper in Burnaby than in Vancouver. The price of milk, bread, eggs and other staples will be about the same or slightly above what you would pay in Vancouver. Of course, where you shop likely influences these prices quite a bit, but if you're buying in Burnaby expecting to have inexpensive food, you may be better to consider somewhere else within the greater Vancouver metro area.

Dining Costs

If you want to eat out, you will find the prices within Burnaby to be relatively comparable to that of Vancouver. You can expect a lower-cost meal to be under $20. Similarly, a meal for two at a nice restaurant should cost less than $100, unless, of course, you order lots of alcohol. The cost of dining out in both cities is roughly the same, even though there are most definitely restaurants that are more expensive in Vancouver than what you would find in Burnaby.

Burnaby is home to some top-rated restaurants, earning more than 4.5 stars on Google Maps, including Pear Tree Restaurant, Anton's Pasta Bar, and Chad Thai Restaurant. No matter what type of food you are craving, you are very likely to find it within the Burnaby city limits! And with the lower cost of living Burnaby, you'll be able to afford it.


Numbeo estimates that the cost of utilities in Burnaby is more than in the city of Vancouver. It's important to note that electricity prices are the same throughout the province as BC Hydro is responsible for those. Therefore, no matter where you live within the provincial boundaries, you can expect to have the same electric bill.

What can change, however, is the cost of water, garbage, and other essential services. For a 915 square foot apartment, the estimated price for these is about $100 per month, compared with $90 for Vancouver. It's not a significant increase, but technically speaking, you're more likely to pay a little bit more in utilities in Burnaby.

Gas Prices

Gas in British Columbia is, sadly, incredibly expensive. The average cost for a litre of gasoline in Vancouver is often over $1.50. Unfortunately, residents in Burnaby will not receive much of a break in this regard. It's typical for gas prices only to be about 10 cents cheaper than in Vancouver. While that is a little bit of a saving, you should also consider that in the downtown area, you might be able to get away with not having a car. However, in Burnaby, it's harder to avoid having a vehicle and, as such, you will have to spend money on gas!

Median Income

The median income within the city of Vancouver was $72,662, according to the last census figures published by Statistics Canada. Indeed, compared with some other Canadian metro areas, Vancouverites earn a decent wage. However, factoring in the exorbitant cost of living within the city limits, the rent alone on a two-bedroom apartment will consume a large portion of that wage.

Unfortunately, for Burnaby residents, things don't get much more comfortable. According to Townfolio, the median wage for a household in Burnaby is $64,737. While that wage is proportional, relative to the cost of living, to what people make in Vancouver, it's not much better. Other areas surrounding Burnaby, like Surrey, have a higher wage relative to housing prices. The cost of living Burnaby feels higher than in those other places.

Property Taxes

The property tax rate in Burnaby for residential properties is $2.84 per $1,000 of assessed home value. For the average detached home which sells for $1.5 million, the average yearly property tax bill will be $4,260.

The amount levied per $1,000 of value is similar to what Vancouver has. They collect about $2.56 per $1,000 of assessed home value. The difference, of course, is that homes in Vancouver cost $2.2 million (for an annual tax bill of $5,632) while homes in Burnaby have an average bill just north of $4,000. Expect to pay about $100 a month less in property taxes in Burnaby!


Burnaby is quite close to downtown Vancouver. Commute times are frequently under one hour, which saves time and money. Unfortunately, there aren't many public transit options for this commute, so you should expect to spend money on cars, gas, insurance, and maintenance if you're working more than walking distance from your property.

Childcare Costs

Putting an infant in Vancouver's childcare system is notoriously expensive. The current cost of daycare is about $1,400 per month, which is quite substantial - especially considering the median income of $72,000 per year!

Childcare costs in Burnaby are roughly $1,000 per month, which is approximately 30% cheaper than within the city of Vancouver. Families very much appreciate those extra $500 monthly savings!

Burnaby Is A Lower Cost Of Living Region With Some Flaws

From a purely numerical point of view, Burnaby does have a lower cost of living than Vancouver. It's about 10-20% cheaper across the board. However, that does come at a cost. The overall household income isn't as high in Burnaby, and there is a commute into the downtown region. Both of these are negative factors. Additionally, the cost of living savings is not necessarily worth being outside of the city limits. That's a personal decision, of course, but something you should consider when looking at properties in Burnaby.

Burnaby does have many jobs within the city limits itself, though. There are tech companies, restaurants, hotels, and other industries that have plenty of employment. If you get one of those jobs, then the commute into work is not something about which you should be too concerned.

If you're looking for a lower cost of living place than Vancouver, speak with me today so we can see if Burnaby might be a good fit for you!