Vancouver is undoubtedly an expensive place to live, but there are still some affordable options.
Vancouver Magazine has ranked Vancouver’s best and worst neighbourhoods, based on several factors, and affordability was top of mind. Thus the Downtown Eastside (DTES), an area that has been called Canada’s poorest neighbourhood, scored 48.7, a higher rating than the pricy Westside areas of Kerrisdale (46) and Dunbar (44.3).
- False Creek
There should be little doubt that the communities that were built along False Creek in the last two decades, from Yaletown on the north side to the Olympic Village on the south shore, are resounding successes. But there should be even less doubt that they owe much of their existence to the community that came before them.
False Creek South, with its artful mixture of mixed-income residential, people-friendly retail and abundant green spaces, is the personification of what urban theorist Jane Jacobs thought an urban community should be. And yet, this ranking will come as a surprise to some people, given that False Creek South tends to sit in the shadows of the towers to its north and east. But it’s time to give False Creek South its rightful place in the sun.
Affordable: 66.9 | Low Crime: 62.7 | Economy: 66.0 | Diversity: 35.6 | Restaurants: 49.1 | Kids: 40.0 | Commute: 68.6 | Singles: 32.0 | Smart and Engaged: 66.4 | Green Space: 62.0 | Stable: 54.1
- West End
The West End absolutely crushes it when it comes to affordability, low levels of property crime, and access to green space, Stanley Park, but gets edged by False Creek due to the fact that it’s an awfully difficult place to raise kids and one where there’s a lot of turnover. For singles and the childless, though, it might be a better bet than our overall winner.
Affordable: 71.7 | Low Crime: 81.2 | Economy: 50.6 | Diversity: 47.3 | Restaurants: 51.0 | Kids: 14.7 | Commute: 70.8 | Singles: 72.6 | Smart and Engaged: 53.7 | Green Space: 99.4 | Stable: 8.9
- Lynn Valley
No surprises here: Lynn Valley rates highly when it comes to green space, the economic clout of its residents, and the quality of its schools. Even less surprising? That it’s bad for singles and lacks diversity. Still, if you’re looking for an explicitly family-friendly neighbourhood, this might be your best bet. Just don’t delay, lest you get priced out by the West Van inheritance money that’s been pouring in of late.
Affordable: 52.1 | Low Crime: 78.7 | Economy: 78.8 | Diversity: 34.8 | Restaurants: 25.7 | Kids: 74.0 | Commute: 30.9 | Singles: 25.3 | Smart and Engaged: 47.9 | Green Space: 85.3 | Stable: 83.1
- Main St. (Riley Park)
Riley park is Vancouver’s Goldilocks neighbourhood: neither too strong nor too weak in any of the categories. It scores strongly on economic and cultural diversity, its population of smart and engaged residents, and its economic vitality, and misses the mark a bit in terms of property crime and the number of singles (and volume of opportunities for them to change that status). One amenity that wasn’t factored into our scoring: proximity to Nat Bailey Stadium, and the epic summer nights to which it routinely plays host.
Affordable: 59.0 | Low Crime: 37.7 | Economy: 76.5 | Diversity: 70.6 | Restaurants: 45.5 | Kids: 47.6 | Commute: 45.5 | Singles: 40.4 | Smart and Engaged: 60.0 | Green Space: 43.7 | Stable: 64.3
The idea of Downtown being an attractive place to live would have been a difficult one for previous generations to stomach. But no more, and no wonder. With a huge range of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops to choose from (just look at that score), a lively social scene, and the city’s easiest commute, it’s an increasingly popular neighbourhood in which to live as well as work and play. As a result, you can bet that population figure is on its way up.
Affordable: 53.7 | Low Crime: 81.0 | Economy: 40.2 | Diversity: 68.7 | Restaurants: 99.9 | Kids: 18.0 | Commute: 82.7 | Singles: 98.4 | Smart and Engaged: 49.4 | Green Space: 17.7 | Stable: 10.9
- Olympic Village / Fairview
Remember when people were worried that the Olympic Village was going to be a failure? Those days are clearly behind it now, and with the gorgeous new BMO Theatre Centre joining a rapidly expanding roster of bars and restaurants and a booming craft beer scene, it’s safe to assume that even better ones are on the horizon for those who live in the Village.
Affordable: 62.3 | Low Crime: 61.2 | Economy: 69.2 | Diversity: 54.4 | Restaurants: 82.5 | Kids: 13.2 | Commute: 75.1 | Singles: 54.9 | Smart and Engaged: 76.5 | Green Space: 21.2 | Stable: 21.0
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away – okay, the late 1990s – UBC was a sleepy community of students, professors, and academic staff living in a clutch of low-rise buildings. Today, it’s practically a city unto itself, with a growing number of residential towers and all the amenities to match. That drive towards density will kick into an even higher gear once the UBC subway extension finally gets built. For anyone using the 99 B-Line, that can’t happen soon enough.
Affordable: 50.6 | Low Crime: 80.1 | Economy: 9.8 | Diversity: 79.6 | Restaurants: 42.6 | Kids: 68.3 | Commute: 59.0 | Singles: 59.2 | Smart and Engaged: 41.2 | Green Space: 99.5 | Stable: 19.5
Sure, the shape of Yaletown’s boundaries has changed a bit over the last decade or two. But can you blame developers for trying to tie their projects to the name – or buyers for wanting it as their home turf? After all, if you’re looking for a neighbourhood that personifies the best qualities of post-Expo Vancouver, it has to be Yaletown. Sure, it’s maligned in some quarters of the city. But we think that’s as much a function of jealousy as anything.
Affordable: 37.1 | Low Crime: 86.0 | Economy: 79.5 | Diversity: 60.1 | Restaurants: 75.3 | Kids: 32.6 | Commute: 62.6 | Singles: 44.8 | Smart and Engaged: 53.8 | Green Space: 51.2 | Stable: 40.6
It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of Kits being ranked the 9th best neighbourhood in Vancouver would have been heresy. But it retains most of the traits that once made it the city’s most coveted ‘hood, from its educated and engaged citizens to its range of urban amenities and enduring socio-economic stability. It might even be getting short-changed a bit, given that its adjacency to some of the city’s best beaches isn’t part of our formula.
Affordable: 54.0 | Low Crime: 60.9 | Economy: 68.9 | Diversity: 39.3 | Restaurants: 57.5 | Kids: 48.2 | Commute: 68.6 | Singles: 65.9 | Smart and Engaged: 76.7 | Green Space: 32.1 | Stable: 24.8
The idea of a finding a starter home might seem about as likely as finding a unicorn for young Vancouver families today, but it’s not pure fantasy yet—not in Killarney, anyways. With real estate prices that haven’t gone completely parabolic, a bit of green space, good schools, and lots of cultural and economic diversity, it’s a great option for young families that are still chasing the dream. Added bonus for those families? It’s just a short drive to the nearest IKEA.
Affordable: 74.0 | Low Crime: 56.1 | Economy: 47.5 | Diversity: 80.1 | Restaurants: 22.9 | Kids: 62.2 | Commute: 27.8 | Singles: 34.7 | Smart and Engaged: 25.1 | Green Space: 59.9 | Stable: 72.0
Here’s a video to learn more about some of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods:
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