People looking at moving to Vancouver, BC, are likely already familiar with how expensive the region is. Worldwide, Vancouver has the honour of being one of the most livable cities but also one of the most costly. People who are looking to move to Vancouver without spending $4 million on a single-family home would be well-advised to consider some of the surrounding cities. The cost of living in Langley, BC, is much less than that of the city of Vancouver.
With a population just north of 120,000 people and situated approximately 45 km from downtown Vancouver (Langley City), this region is a fantastic place to raise a family.
To understand the cost of living in Langley, BC, and how it compares to Vancouver, we'll look at these ten measures of affordability:
· Rental Prices
· Housing Prices (buying to own)
· Grocery Costs
· Dining Costs (when you want to go out instead of eating in)
· Gas Prices
· Median Income
· Property Taxes
· Childcare Costs
Rental Prices Improve Cost Of Living Langley
The rental market in Vancouver is incredibly expensive. The average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver recently topped $2,150. Given that the median income in 2015 of households in Vancouver was $72,000, this means that a one-bedroom apartment will cost approximately 36% of pre-tax personal income. If you factor income taxes into the equation, then that percentage probably climbs to 50% or higher. Multi-bedroom apartments are even more expensive!
In short, apartments within the city of Vancouver limits have quickly become unaffordable for the average family.
The cost of living in Langley is much lower in this regard. It's 50% less! The average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in Langley is $1,075, and for a two-bedroom apartment, it is $1,450. That is significantly more affordable as it represents 18% and 24% of pre-tax household income, respectively.
Cost Of Living in Langley Is Low When It Comes To House Prices
Langley, BC, has comparatively affordable housing, especially in the condo market. The average price for a condo in Langley is $401,000. That includes all bedroom types - from one-bedroom ones to three-bedroom units. Townhomes are also remarkably inexpensive in Langley, running for approximately $585,000. Assuming a down payment of 20%, these would result in monthly payments of $1,500 and $2,200, respectively.
Detached homes in Langley, BC, are quite a bit more expensive than condos. Currently, the average home price sits at $1.4 million. Even with a significant down payment, single-family homes are pricey, but, as we will see, it's still much better than Vancouver.
By contrast, Vancouver has an incredibly high cost of living. The average price for a condo is nearly double at $787,000. Townhomes are also effectively double at $1.2 million. The average detached home costs approximately $2.2 million. Therefore, when it comes to housing prices, homes in Langley are around 50% cheaper than locating within the Vancouver city limits!
For groceries, living outside of Vancouver will almost invariably save some money. The food you buy in Langley, BC, is approximately 4.14% lower than what you find in Vancouver. Overall, prices are relatively reasonable and commensurate with what you will find throughout most of Canada. Milk, bread, and eggs are all affordable for the most part. There are a few staples that cost a little bit more, like cheese, but, in general, you'll find that your dollar goes farther towards food in Langley than in other major metro areas like Vancouver or Toronto.
Langley is home to some remarkably good restaurants. Some of the top-rated restaurants in the area, like Cactus Club Cafe, Shiraz Grill, or An Indian Affair, receive well over four stars on Google Maps. Whether you find yourself in the mood for Chinese, Italian, Indian, or any other ethnic variety of food, Langley will have what you're craving.
Fortunately, for people living in this region, dining out isn't that expensive. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant will be under $20, and a meal for two at a beautiful place will still likely be under $100. It's about on par with the Vancouver region in general.
BC Hydro has fixed rates throughout the province, so there is no difference when it comes to electricity no matter where you live in British Columbia. BC Hydro is reasonably competitive when compared to other regions within Canada. While the rates are not as cheap as some provinces, like Alberta, different areas, like Ontario, have higher rates than BC. They're in the middle.
Number estimates that the cost of necessary utilities for a 915 square foot apartment in Langley would be $96 compared with $90 for Vancouver. That's only a 7% difference, so it is reasonably safe to assume that the cost of living in Langley in this respect will be quite similar to the city of Vancouver.
Gas in BC is expensive when compared to the rest of Canada. Unfortunately, Langley is not an exception to this rule. While gas may be a slight bit cheaper in Langley, it won't be significant. At the time of this writing, there are more $1.30-$1.40 places in Langley as compared to Vancouver, which has many more $1.40-$1.50 locations. It's a small difference but if you plan on using your car in Langley the saving of $0.10 or so a litre is most definitely welcome!
The last census revealed that Vancouver's median income is $72,662. According to TownFolio, the median income in Langley is significantly higher at $90,564. This figure means that you will receive more money to live in an overall cheaper place!
Property tax rates in Langley are higher than Vancouver, but low compared with some of its sibling cities. Langley residents will pay $3.58 per $1,000 of assessed value. By contrast, Vancouver residents pay $2.56 per $1,000 of home value. While this is higher, it is lower than Maple Ridge, for example, which pays $4.40.
Given that the property prices in Langley can be about 50% of that of downtown Vancouver, you will have a significant tax saving. At $401,000 for an average condo in Langley, the estimated property tax bill would be $1,435.58 yearly. By contrast, at $787,000 for an average Vancouver condo, the estimated property tax bill would be $2,014.72. Of course, that discrepancy increases for semi-detached and detached homes.
Even though Langley's property tax rate is higher in terms of the price per $1,000 of value, since homes in Langley are so much more affordable, people who live within Langley's borders pay less in property tax overall!
Living in Langley will involve a commute. Even if you find work within Langley itself, you'll still likely need a car to get there as the region is relatively vast. That means you'll invariably have to factor in the cost of having one or more vehicles into your cost of living calculations. You'll need to factor in car insurance, gas, and maintenance. Of course, if you want to have a car regardless of whether you're in Vancouver or Langley, then you would need to account for those costs anyways!
Assuming you work in downtown Vancouver, you will usually have to factor in the cost of commuting via car. You can take one of the trains into Vancouver, but you will likely need to park your car at one of the stations and take the train from there. No matter how you look at it, expect to pay $10 or so in gas and one hour each way to get to and from downtown in peak rush times.
Sadly, Vancouver has one of the most expensive childcare costs in the country. It currently costs $1,400 per month to put an infant into daycare in the city. While there is talk from politicians about making that number much more affordable, it's unlikely to happen any time soon.
Langley is quite a bit cheaper. You will likely not have to pay over $1,000 per month in childcare. The average rate, according to Numbeo, is about $800 per month. Child care in Langley is quite a bit more affordable than in Vancouver!
A Lower Cost Of Living In Langley Than In Vancouver
You will find a lower cost of living in Langley than in many parts of the greater Vancouver area. The most significant saving, by far, will be when it comes to buying a house. You can easily buy a home for 50% or less of what it costs for a comparable property in the city of Vancouver. Even rents are quite a bit less expensive in Langley.
Overall, you'll find the cost of living in Langley to be around what you would expect to pay for a city that's only 45 km away from Vancouver - not dirt cheap, but quite manageable. If you have a household income near the halfway mark for Langley ($90k), you will be able to lead a reasonably comfortable life. You will live a much higher quality of life on that income when compared with other major metro areas in Canada like Vancouver, Toronto, or Montreal.
If you're looking for a lower cost of living place than Vancouver, speak with me today so we can see if Langley might be a good t for you!