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Thinking about moving to a place with a lower cost of living because you’re in one of the most expensive cities in Canada? Well, you need to find a city within Canada that best suits you and your family’s wants and needs. It is never just about cheap rent.

However, rent is up everywhere while average house prices are down.

There is a lot more than just the cost of housing that has to be considered. Everything has to be included like:

  • rent or mortgage
  • food
  • gas prices
  • car expenses
  • average salary.

We break down the cost of living in the most expensive cities in Canada using 2021 Statistics Canada data, 2023 Talent.com data and the Hellosafe.ca take home pay calculator.

The total potential cost per month which is at the top of each city’s section is made up of rent prices, a $250 estimate on groceries, as well as car expenses which include both gas (1000 km estimate per month) and insurance

Are you ready?

Top Ten Most Expensive Cities To Live In Canada And Their Cost of Living

This list compiles detailed information on 10 of the most expensive cities in Canada and what it will cost to live there. 

10. Winnipeg, Manitoba

  • Total potential cost per month: $2,051
  • Average Winnipeg monthly take-home pay: $3,176

Average Cost Of A House In Winnipeg:

The average cost of a single-family house in Winnipeg was $367,100 as of May 2023 according to nesto, considerably lower than some other cities on the list.

Average Rent:

According to Rentals.ca, the average rent in Winnipeg for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,588. 

Average Salary:

According to Statistics Canada, the average annual salary in Winnipeg is $50,700 as of 2021. That, too, is lower than in certain other cities on the list. 

9. Calgary, Alberta

  • Total potential cost per month: $2,489
  • Average Calgary monthly take-home pay: $3,890

Average Cost Of A House In Calgary:

According to nesto, the average price for a single-family home in Calgary is $615,200, which is a new record for the highest price of a house in the city’s history.

Average Rent:

According to Rentals.ca, the average rent in Calgary for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,019 which is a 15 % increase from 2022. 

Average Salary:

The average salary in Calgary according to Statistics Canada is $61,400.

8. Halifax, Nova Scotia

  • Total potential cost per month: $2,586
  • Average Halifax monthly take-home pay: $2,678

Average Cost Of A House In Halifax:

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average price of a home in Halifax was $458,175. It was only a modest 1.2% increase from the year before.

Average Rent:

According to Rentals.ca, as of June 2023, the average rent in Halifax is $2,141 for a two-bedroom apartment, a 4.8% increase from 2022.

Average Salary:

According to Talent.com, the average salary in Halifax is $41,836 per year for 2023

7. Hamilton, Ontario

  • Total potential cost per month: $2,590
  • Average Hamilton monthly take-home pay: $3,116

Average Cost Of A House In Hamilton:

According to nesto, the average price for a home in Hamilton is $845,892. That is a 22.9% decrease from 2022. Of course, it is also below the Ontario provincial average of $1,081,500.

Average Rent:

According to Rentals.ca, the average rent in Hamilton for a two-bedroom apartment, as of June 2023, is $2,098.

Average Salary:

According to Talent.com, the average annual salary in Hamilton for 2023 is $47,148

6. London, Ontario

  • Total potential cost per month: $2,599
  • Average London monthly take-home pay: $3,326

Average Cost Of A House In London:

According to nesto, the average price of a home in London is $621,912 in July 2023, which is a 24.6% decrease from last year.

Average Rent:

According to Rentals.ca, the average price of rent for a two-bedroom apartment in London is $2 098, increasing 7% from last year. 

Average Salary:

The average salary in London according to Talent.com is $50,811 for 2023.

5. Montreal, Quebec

  • Total potential cost per month: $2,615
  • Average Montreal monthly take-home Pay: $ 3,215

Average Cost Of A House In Montreal:

The average price for a house in Montreal, according to nesto, is $517,600. This is a 5.8% decrease from last year. The Quebec provincial rate is down 5.3% year-over-year.

Average Rent:

According to Rentals.ca, the average price of rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Montreal is $2,172 which is up 8% from 2022. 

Average Salary:

The average salary in Montreal according to Statistics Canada is $53,300 per year.

4. Ottawa, Ontario

  • Total potential cost per month: $2,933
  • Average Ottawa monthly Take-Home Pay: $3,787

Average Cost Of A House In Ottawa:

According to nesto, the average price of a house in Ottawa was $613,000 for July 2023.

Average Rent:

According to Rentals.ca, as of June 2023, the average rent in Ottawa for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,430, which is an increase of 17% compared to 2022.

Average Salary:

Talent.com calculates that the average salary in Ottawa is $59,405 per year as of 2023.

3. Toronto, Ontario

  • Total potential cost per month: $3,787
  • Average Toronto monthly take-home pay: $3,642

Average Cost Of A House In Toronto:

Purchasing a house in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is not cheap. According to nesto, the average price of a home in the GTA is $1.164 million in May 2023. That represents a 6.8% decrease from last year.

Average Rent:

The average rent in Toronto for a two-bedroom apartment is $3,286 per month according to Rentals.ca.

Average Salary:

According to Statistics Canada, the average annual salary in Toronto is $56,700 per year as of 2021. 

2. Victoria, British Columbia

  • Total potential cost per month: $3,182
  • Average Victoria monthly take-home Pay: $3,308

Average Cost Of A House In Victoria:

The average price for a family home in Victoria increased by 8.9% in May 2023 and is now at $1.297 million on average according to the Victoria Real Estate Board.

Average Rent:

According to Rentals.ca, a Canadian rental website, the average price of rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Victoria BC as of June 2023 is $2,616 per month. That is a 6% increase from the previous calendar year. 

Average Salary:

The Average salary in Victoria for 2023 is $49,672 according to Talent.com.

1. Vancouver, British Columbia

  • Total potential cost per month: $4,301
  • Average Vancouver monthly take-home pay: $3,618

Average Cost Of A House In Vancouver:

According to nesto, the average price for a house in Vancouver is $1.188 million, which is in fact down 5.6% compared to 2022. Provincially, the average home price is down 8.2%.

Average Rent:

The rent is, as mentioned, what people discuss the most when talking about living in Vancouver. The average rent in Vancouver increased a total of 14.7% from 2022 to 2023 according to City News. The average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is $2,787. A two-bedroom apartment costs $3,741. 

Average Salary:

According to Statistics Canada, the average salary in Vancouver is $55,300 per year. 

Where Does Your Dollar Go Furthest And Where Does It Not Go Far At All?

Based on these numbers, the lowest cost of living for the biggest, and most expensive cities in Canada, is in Calgary. This means you could afford more in Calgary, or maybe even save more.

Only two cities, Toronto and Vancouver, cost more to live there than the average take-home pay. You would need to earn significantly more than the average salary to avoid going into debt just to afford housing, food, and private transport. Plus, we didn’t get into the specifics of home insurance and the cost of any specific car or maintenance.

If you are an immigrant to Canada, Winnipeg might have the lowest cost of living, but job opportunities might be greater elsewhere. The best average salary that we found was $61,400 in Calgary.

Which city has the right balance between the cost of living and salary for you?

Cost of Living in the Most Expensive Cities in Canada - FAQs

Where is the cheapest rent in Canada?

On this list, rent in Winnipeg, Hamilton, and rent in Calgary are more affordable than in the rest of Canada. There are others that are not on this list such as Edmonton and Quebec City which are large cities that have cheaper rental prices.

Does my credit score change when I move to a different city or province?

Your credit score will remain the same when moving to a different city or province. However, if you are moving to a different country, your credit score is not transferable and will not follow you to the new country. 

Is Canada a good place for immigrants?

Canada is known for its multicultural society and high immigration rates. This makes it a good choice for immigration. According to the Government of Canada, roughly 75% of Canada’s population growth comes from immigration per year. There are also projections that by 2036 immigrants will represent up to 30% of Canada’s population making Canada one of the most appealing countries for immigrants seeking a new home
Jackson Starr avatar on Loans Canada
Jackson Starr

Jackson Starr studies journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa and is originally from Montreal. He is a contributor to the Capital Current and an Ottawa broadcaster. He is a fan of any sport and has a passion for educating Canadians on current events and market trends.

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