According to the latest report by Numbeo, Canada holds the 22nd position in terms of the world’s highest cost of living plus rent index. It is a slight decrease from its previous ranking at spot number 21 in 2022.
Nevertheless, it is apparent from collected data that Canada still falls into one of the world’s most expensive places to live.
Some of the most populated regions in Canada, such as Vancouver and Toronto, along with newcomer Markham, are faced with a challenge regarding their high living expenses.
The demand for housing within these urban regions is sky-high, while supply remains limited, causing great difficulties for many individuals trying to get by every day.
However, it is essential to consider that living expenses in Canada are adjustable based on your situation, choices, and financial plan. Selecting a Canadian city as your new home requires careful budgeting and extensive research.
Below, we have compiled a list of the most expensive places to live in Canada in 2023.
- Numbeo places Canada at number 22 for the highest cost of living plus rent index in 2023, with some of the most expensive cities being Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.
- Toronto has the highest cost of living in Canada, with an average monthly cost of living of $1,416 for a single person (excluding rent) and a median home price of $1,095,617.
- While having a lower overall cost of living than Toronto, Vancouver is still the most expensive city in Canada regarding housing, with a median rent of $2,335 for a studio apartment and a median home price of $1,220,469.
Most Expensive Cities to Live in Canada
1. Toronto, ON
Toronto has gained recognition as the finance capital of Canada, with a reputation for being pricey. As it evolved into a commerce and finance center over time due to its strategic location, more than 6 million people call this urban area home. Ongoing population growth boosts real estate demand while increasing job market competition.
According to Numbeo, a person living alone in Toronto shells out $1,416 monthly on average for their overhead expenses, excluding rent.
If you were to consider renting a studio flat, Zumper estimates it would amount to an average price tag of $1,871. If you opted for the bigger one-bedroom unit, expect around $2,605 monthly expenditure.
Those who have set owning a house as their ultimate aim within the Greater Toronto Area should prepare themselves to pay approximately $1,095,617 based on facts recorded by the WOWA research firm.
That is how many houses generally sell in 2023, making Toronto one of Canada’s most expensive places to live.
Learn about Ontario’s minimum wage.
2. Vancouver, BC
Vancouver, a contemporary urban hub with nature reserves, is similar to Toronto regarding the high cost of living. After holding the top spot as the most expensive region for many years, “Van City” was taken over by Toronto at the top spot last 2022.
Living expenses in Vancouver have become burdensome due to the city’s competitive housing market, hefty grocery prices, and rising utility charges.
The city’s free public school system and the dependable public transportation system known as TransLink have been beneficial with the expenses.
Despite its cheaper food and transportation costs, Vancouver is still the city with the most expensive housing in Canada compared to its eastern neighbourhoods.
It ranks 118th in the world for the most expensive cost of living in 2023, at $1,325.7 (Numbeo, 2023) for an individual, slightly less than Toronto.
However, Greater Vancouver is much more costly when renting and buying a home, with an average rent of $2,335 for a studio apartment and an average home price of $1,220,469 for the area.
3. Markham, ON
Markham is at the center of the Greater Toronto Area, known for its diversity and economic stability. Though it may be more affordable than Toronto to some extent, rental rates and real estate prices are still higher than in other regions.
The city’s high living level is reflected in its high prices for products and services since it is home to hundreds of corporate headquarters and over a thousand highly technological and health sciences firms.
The average cost of living in this locale is $1,348.7, slightly above Ontario’s average by about 1% while exceeding national standards by approximately 13%.
According to Zolo, Markham has the tenth highest home prices in the Greater Toronto Area and is the eighth fastest-growing city. Between $1.2M and $1.3M is what you may anticipate shelling out to acquire one of these homes.
Although there was a 1.9% drop in housing in Markham in February 2023, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, it is still 22% higher than the national average, with a median cost of $1,281,247 (Zolo, 2023).
Renting an apartment in Markham is also significantly more expensive than in other cities within Ontario but 5.7% lower than in Toronto at an average price of $1,700 for studio apartments.
4. Kelowna, BC
Throughout the years, many Canadians have chosen Kelowna as their desired spot for retirement. Despite needing a central hub dedicated to commerce and industry, living in Kelowna is costly.
Aside from the limited housing options, the beautiful surroundings are another reason costs soar; who can resist paying extra money when you have stunning views?
According to Remax Canada, homeownership in this location has an average price of approximately $1,104,850 – somewhat lower than Vancouver’s yet slightly more expensive than Toronto’s rate.
Many first-time residents, frustrated by the high costs of single-family homes, instead opt to acquire townhouses, which frequently come with lower mortgage values.
To dwell here officially requires a minimum estimated budget of $1,215 per month. Renters would need anywhere from $1,638 (for studio apartments) up to 2-bedroom units costing around $2,325 each calendar month, depending upon your needs or family size.
Related: Best Places to Visit in Kelowna
5. Victoria, BC
Despite Victoria’s smaller size than its twin city Vancouver, it remains one of Canada’s most expensive cities.
Many factors contribute to why Victoria is as expensive as Vancouver or Toronto, including high housing demand and people having increased minimum wages, which means they are subjected to higher tax rates.
While housing prices are slightly lower than in Vancouver at $895,036, consumer prices are 8.3% higher because the city is on an island. Expansion is complex, and goods and materials must be transported over water.
Victoria’s rent prices are 14% lower than those in Vancouver. In this city, apartments range from $1,795 for a studio to $2,535 for a two-bedroom, which is surprisingly the same rate as Vancouver’s average studio rent.
6. Nanaimo, BC
Nestled in the charming province of British Columbia, Nanaimo has become one of Canada’s rapidly growing cities.
Flourishing industries such as healthcare, real estate, and accounting have brought about a surge in possibilities throughout the metropolis, causing a significant escalation in the cost of living.
As per the data provided by Remax Canada, a single-family house’s median price in Nanaimo is $697,973.40 at present.
However, they expect a 5% decrease in sales in 2023, as seen from the low number of houses, condos, and townhomes for sale due to increased bank interest rates and higher mortgage values.
Monthly living expenditures like groceries, utility bills, and clothing purchases are computed to be $1,333.9 for one individual, which is analogous to what you’ll spend while dwelling within Ottawa city limits.
The pursuit of good lodging in Nanaimo can result in an expenditure of approximately $1,495 per month when seeking to rent an apartment.
7. Calgary, AB
Calgary, a significant Canadian economic center per Edmonton Homes’ analysis, boasts of being one of the country’s most economical cities with favourable living expenses and high earnings. Compared to Vancouver, rental costs here are 30% lower, according to Numbeo.
Calgary also has reasonably priced groceries and utilities. Eating out and buying groceries is expected to be 6% cheaper than in Vancouver. That makes it an ideal location for newcomers seeking a cost-effective lifestyle while earning lucrative wages.
The housing market reports produced by WOWA divulge that the typical home price in Calgary has declined by 7.5% since 2022, leaving it at around $506,685 or half a million dollars.
8. Brampton, ON
With over 75,000 businesses operating in Brampton, “the flower town of Canada,” it is one of Canada’s fastest-growing and most expensive cities. Housing, transportation, tax, and other charges significantly contribute to Brampton’s substantial cost of living.
Despite its attractive features and excellent living conditions, it would be best if you were monetarily prepared to pay more compared to other Canadian cities.
Although groceries and food are 18% cheaper than in Toronto, basic utility expenses such as electricity and water are still 70% more expensive than in Toronto.
Furthermore, oil and gasoline prices are much higher than those in its neighbouring cities, particularly Toronto. It is due to an economy heavily dependent on the transportation and logistics industry.
Like Toronto and Vancouver, the market for real estate in Brampton is also quite competitive. According to listing data from WOWA, the average house sale price in Brampton is $1,028,192.
It was down from a peak of $1,367,444 in 2022. Rent has also become crazy expensive, with the average one-bedroom apartment in the city expected to cost roughly $2,075 monthly.
9. Surrey, BC
Zolo reports that Surrey ranks as British Columbia’s seventh most expensive city. While living in Surrey costs 17% less than its neighbouring central hub, Vancouver, this still needs to diminish the fact that one will still pay a premium for living here.
Per LivingCost.org data, Surrey has one of the most excellent standards of life for cities in Canada. However, it also has a high cost of living. Mortgage interest rates are currently at 5.23%, whereas the cost of food for a month comes in at about $500.
Numbeo stats say that for one to reside solo without rent taken into account, one must budget $1,284.9 while living in Surrey.
As far as Metro Vancouver communities are concerned, Surrey has consistently had cheaper rental costs. A studio apartment can be found for an average price of $1,625, and the most common listings are 1-bedroom apartments that usually go for around $1,850 per month.
One-bedroom apartments in the Guildford region are now going for an average of $1,582 a month, making it one of the finest values in the city. If you’re looking for a rental outside of Surrey, the average apartment in the Willoughby area of Langley is $1,789.
Despite this affordability aspect of renting in Surrey, it has gained quite a reputation as having some rather pricey houses too. In fact, according to OJO Home statistics on median list prices, which indicate high-end properties, one would expect something at around $1,500,000.
Related: Cheapest Places to Live in British Columbia
10. Mississauga, ON
In Mississauga, high property prices are due to the Toronto Pearson International Airport, which makes it an attractive location for global investors.
Hotels, restaurants, and transportation services have all sprung up in the neighbourhood in reaction to the existence of the international airport. The increased pricing of products and services that may result from the presence of such businesses raises the cost of living there.
AreaVibes reports that while residents of Mississauga have living expenses 5% lower than Ontario’s average, they still pay an average monthly cost of $1,221.2 -6% higher than Canada’s national average.
In the latest statistical report of Mississauga MLS® 2023, the average house price in this city has depreciated by 18% from last year and is now set at $1,029,186.
Housing is still very pricey relative to other areas, such as Brampton, caused by rising interest rates. The difficulty of acquiring favourable mortgage rates is also putting a strain on the market.
Those considering renting can choose to lease studio apartments with rental fees reaching approximately $1,574 or opt for more spacious accommodations like one-bedroom flats that cost roughly $2,121 monthly.
11. Ottawa, ON
Affordability is a potential selling point for Ottawa, the nation’s capital and seat of government.
Many positive reasons lead to this welcoming city being one of the best places to relocate in Canada — high salaries, economically stable, immigrant-friendly, more jobs, and relatively cheaper, with the cost of living around 4% lower than Toronto at $1,334.1.
For those seeking properties, houses are almost half the price in Vancouver and Toronto at $631,582, a 16.1% decrease from 2022. Renting accommodation in Ottawa is also 32.9% cheaper than in Vancouver at $1,420 for a studio apartment.
12. London, ON
Regarding real estate pricing, London, Ontario, has been on the rise, which reflects why it is on the list of the most expensive places to live in Canada. Many people have compared the substantial price increases over the years to Toronto, even though Expastistan says it is 23% cheaper.
The city, home to some leading institutions, several top-rated healthcare facilities, and an advanced educational system, has grown into a costly place to call home. The province’s housing supply crunch is at the heart of the problem.
Even though the cost of living is nearly equivalent to Toronto at $1,259, housing prices are more affordable, with an average house price of $614,216 and monthly rent of $1,710 for a one-bedroom apartment.
13. Montreal, QC
If you’re looking for a relatively good value to live and work in than Vancouver, and Toronto, Montreal is one of the top choices.
From a financial perspective, Montreal is a fantastic destination to stay and work in due to its lower housing prices and reasonable utility costs compared to other major cities in Canada.
Montreal’s cost of living is not relatively high, but still expensive. Ranked at 181st by Numbeo, the cost of living is close to Toronto and Vancouver, with an estimated monthly cost of $1,189.2 without rent.
While not cheap, the price of a house in Montreal is on the comparatively low side at $535,190, down 8.2% from 2022. For renters, an average one-bedroom apartment in 2023 is $1,545, a 14% increase from last year.
Related: Montreal vs. Toronto: Which City Should You Live in?
What is the Most Expensive City in Canada?
Numbeo says that Vancouver is the most expensive city in Canada, with a cost of living and rent index of 61.6, which is just a little higher than Toronto’s index of 60.3. Prices in the housing market were the main reason Vancouver beat out Toronto.
Liv.rent’s latest study states that most parts of Vancouver are the most expensive locations for renting an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment, with an average monthly rent of $2,251.
Downtown Vancouver keeps going to have the highest median monthly rent in the city at $2,796 a month, whereas Hastings-Sunrise has the cheapest at $1,950.
Statista says the rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Vancouver last January 2023 is $3,562 per month, 10% more than the rent in Toronto.
What is the Least Expensive City in Canada?
Trois-Rivières, Quebec, is one of the least expensive large cities to live in Canada.
According to Living Cost Org, the city’s cost of living is $1,051 monthly for a single person (not including rent), which is less than many other cities in Quebec and Canada. Other data implies a lower value of roughly $670, firmly placing it in the least expensive group.
Since Quebec is the least costly province in Canada, it’s not entirely shocking it also has one of the least expensive cities in Canada.
As indicated by Numbeo’s index on the cost of living, Hamilton, Bermuda, is considered the most expensive city in the world. This island town’s score was 142.1, indicating it costs you 42.1% more than what New York City would require from you. Basel, Zurich, and Lausanne are among Switzerland’s most expensive cities next to Hamilton.
In Canada, the cost of living differs depending on your lifestyle. As a single person, Manitoba or New Brunswick could be good choices. For families, Saskatchewan is the best choice.
According to Statista, Ontario or British Columbia has the most expensive housing in Canada. Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Nanaimo, and Brampton are places where people must spend large sums on homes. Future predictions have said that house prices within these provinces will peak at over a million dollars per household in the coming years.
The online publisher Visual Capitalist says Toronto is the richest place in Canada. Based on Visual Capitalist’s top 20 super-wealthy cities in 2023, Toronto came in 14th with 17 billionaires, 187 centi-millionaires, and 116,100 millionaires. The expansion can be predominantly linked to the upsurge in the flourishing real estate and technological industries.