Cost Of Living In Maple Ridge, BC
Anyone who has ever been to Maple Ridge knows that it is a beautiful little town. With a population of fewer than 100,000 people and nestled up against the Golden Ears, Maple Ridge is a fantastic place to live and raise a family. There are many outdoorsy things to do, and you're only a 35km drive from downtown Vancouver. It's a perfect family-friendly destination for people who are looking to move to the city. The good news is that it also has a smaller cost of living as compared to Vancouver proper.
To understand the cost of living differences between Maple Ridge and Vancouver, we'll need to look at multiple vital metrics. In particular, this post will look at the following 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
Anyone who has looked at the Vancouver rental market knows how crazy it has become. While rentals in Vancouver used to be somewhat affordable, that has all but gone away in recent years. Rents in Vancouver are now $2,200 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and $3,000 for a two-bedroom one. These are some of the most costly rents in the nation.
Fortunately, Maple Ridge is significantly less expensive. Estimates for a two-bedroom apartment in Maple Ridge are cheaper than a one-bedroom in Vancouver. These apartments run for about $1,950 per month. A one-bedroom apartment typically goes for $1,350 per month. Electing to rent in Maple Ridge as opposed to Vancouver can save you approximately 40% per month in rent costs.
If you're looking to rent temporarily and purchase a house later, saving this much on rent will enable you to do that much faster. If you rent a two-bedroom apartment in Maple Ridge, you'll save over $1,000 per month on average relative to Vancouver. You can take these savings and put $12,000 per year extra towards a home. Within five years, you'll have an extra $60,000 of your down payment saved!
Compared with Vancouver, the housing prices of Maple Ridge are significantly cheaper. A single-family home in Vancouver runs for over $2 million, whereas a house in Maple Ridge costs approximately $860,000. One of the beautiful things about Maple Ridge, BC, is that you can get condos reasonably cheaply. A condo in Maple Ridge only costs $495,000 on average. Of course, a condo in Vancouver proper is close to $1 million.
Your monthly mortgage payment with an average Maple Ridge home would be $3,590, which is less than half of the mortgage payment for an average Vancouver home (both assuming 20% down).
If you're looking for a place to live that's close to the city with fantastic schools but doesn't have quite the same cost of living expenses, then Maple Ridge is an excellent choice.
As is often the case when looking at the cost of living differences between the suburbs and a city, housing costs are not the only place you save money. Groceries and other products are also cheaper. People who live in Maple Ridge save an estimated 14.3% on grocery expenditures per year relative to their Vancouver counterparts. If you spend $200 a week on food, that will mean you'll spend approximately $30 per week or $1,500 less per year compared to living in the Vancouver metro.
People living in Maple Ridge also save on restaurant meals, albeit not to quite the same level. Restaurants cost an estimated 11% less than in Vancouver. As people who live in Maple Ridge know, you're not getting less quality. There are lots of fantastic dining choices in the region, no matter what you feel like having!
Utilities are slightly less in Maple Ridge than in Vancouver. Electricity rates are the same in the mainland as well as Vancouver Island, so those don't change significantly. However, water, trash, and other utilities are cheaper in Maple Ridge than in Vancouver.
Numbeo estimates that a 915 square foot apartment would incur approximately $73 in charges per month in Maple Ridge compared with $90 per month in Vancouver. It's a small saving, but it helps a bit.
Unfortunately, gas prices tend to be high pretty much anywhere in British Columbia. Maple Ridge is no exception. While gas may be a little bit cheaper there, on average, you won't be finding any fantastic deals. You're still going to be looking at the same $1.30-$1.50 that you would pay in Vancouver.
During the last census, Vancouver had a median income of $72,662. This figure was on the rise, however, so it wouldn't be surprising if it were much better now. Maple Ridge's income, according to TownFolio, is $86,178, which is quite a bit higher than Vancouver's.
Unfortunately, you will pay more as a percentage in property taxes by living in Maple Ridge even though your absolute dollar value will be less. Maple Ridge's effective property tax rate is 0.0044% for residences. By contrast, Vancouver has an incredibly low tax rate of 0.00256%.
On a $1,000,000 property, you'll pay $4,400 per year in taxes by living in Maple Ridge versus $2,560 in Vancouver. However, that doesn't tell the full story. Recall that the average single-family home in Vancouver costs $2 million or more. That means if you buy a home in Vancouver, you can expect to pay $5,120 in property taxes each year. However, homes in Maple Ridge run for $860,000 on average. Therefore, if you buy one of these properties, you'll pay $3,784. Since the average home price is much less, even though your property tax percentage is higher, you're still paying less overall.
With that said, if there were to all of a sudden be an extreme demand for Maple Ridge homes and your assessed value were to skyrocket, then, in theory, your property tax bill could become much more expensive. However, it's doubtful that Maple Ridge homes will be exceeding $2 million in value any time soon.
If you live in Maple Ridge, it's pretty hard to avoid a commute. There aren't as many public transportation options in the suburbs are there are in Vancouver. You should expect to own a car if you live in Maple Ridge. Owning a vehicle means that you'll be paying car maintenance, gas, and approximately $1,832 annually in car insurance every year. While it's not extremely expensive, it's also not cheap. You'll have to plan and budget accordingly.
The cost to commute to Vancouver depends heavily on how you get into the city. The West Coast Express train can take you from Maple Ridge to downtown for $17.75 per day round-trip or $251 monthly. While this isn't cheap, it's also not insanely expensive either, and you save quite a bit of time as you're not in traffic. For people who work in downtown Vancouver, it's a worthwhile monthly expenditure!
Vancouver's childcare costs are some of the most expensive in Canada. Putting an infant into daycare currently costs $1,400 per month on average. Very few cities in Canada top that amount.
Fortunately, Maple Ridge is much more affordable. You can expect to pay less than $1,000 per month in this part of British Columbia. There's even a pilot project to provide $10 per day daycare at one of the childcare facilities in Maple Ridge. By choosing Maple Ridge instead of Vancouver, you will save substantially on childcare expenditures.
Of course, if you can save $1,000 on your daycare expenses, that lets you set that money aside for other family expenses like a down payment on a home, your RESP, RRSP, etc. Being able to save $1,000 per month on childcare is a significant upside for living in this city.
Maple Ridge Is An Alternative To Downtown Vancouver Living
Your overall expenses in Maple Ridge will be quite a bit lower than in downtown Vancouver. For starters, in Maple Ridge, restaurants and other activities will be much less since rents are not as high. You'll be able to go out to places like The Keg without fighting the crowds of downtown Vancouver as well. Maple Ridge also has plenty of grocery stores, which helps keep the cost of living lower as well.
Maple Ridge has excellent public schools to which you can send your kids. These schools are free, so you also don't need to factor in the cost of tuition into your calculations.
It still has proximity to Vancouver, so if you want to be close but don't want all the costs, then Maple Ridge might be the answer for you. It's quite a bit cheaper than living in Vancouver city, and the West Coast Express makes it easy to get to downtown for work. The fact that restaurants, grocery stores, and other fun activities are cheaper means that you won't be spending quite as much there either.
If you're looking for a lower cost of living place than Vancouver, speak with me today so we can see if Maple Ridge might be a good fit for you!