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The Most Affordable Places to Live in British Columbia

Written by Jessica Steer
Living in British Columbia can be very expensive. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to live in the most expensive cities. There are plenty of places to live in BC that are affordable. You also have a wide range of options depending if you prefer to live in the city or in more rural areas. No matter where you choose to live though in BC, you are able to access all of what BC has to offer.
Table of Contents

    Best Places to Live in BC for Young Adults

    No matter where you choose to live in Canada, as a young adult just starting out on your own, there are a lot of costs to consider. When you are choosing where you want to live you have to consider more than just what rent prices are and what the overall cost of living is. What is the job market like? What is there to do in your free time? With all of these questions in consideration, here are some of the best places in BC for you, as a young adult, to live.


    Coquitlam is a good option in BC for young adults. There are plenty of jobs and affordable housing options. On top of that, Coquitlam is only a short trip away from Vancouver. It is also close to other parts of the Fraser Valley if you prefer more outdoor activities. It’s close to many major hospitals and malls. There is plenty of nightlife and tons of restaurants to choose from.


    Victoria is another great place to live. It is located on Vancouver Island and is surrounded by beautiful ocean scenery. There are plenty of outdoor activities as well as nightlife here. Tons of restaurants as well as public transit. Victoria has more affordable housing prices compared to Vancouver and is only a short ferry ride away.


    Whistler is known for its outdoor activities, such as skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking on Whistler Blackcomb mountain. There is also plenty to do in Whistler village. They have art galleries, boutiques, pubs and restaurants. They also have plenty of nightlife. If you are an avid hiker, then there are also plenty of trails available in this area. No matter the season, Whistler has plenty to offer.


    Another really popular place among your adults in BC is Kelowna. It has beautiful scenery, diverse job opportunities and a vibrant culture. They also have excellent healthcare facilities, tons of outdoor activities and offer high quality education. That being said though, housing prices are a bit more expensive in Kelowna. They also don’t have a ton of public transportation or a large nightlife.

    Affordable Places to Live Near Vancouver

    If you are looking to live closer to the city life in Vancouver but can’t quite afford it. There are plenty of places just outside of Vancouver that are much more affordable but are also close enough that you can go to Vancouver whenever you want.

    Port Moody

    The cost of living in Port Moody is significantly less than that of Vancouver. You could save thousands by living here instead. There is also public transportation. With the Skytrain, the Vancouver City Centre is only a 25 minute ride away.

    Port Moody offers plenty of nightlife, it’s quiet and there are plenty of bars and restaurants. They also have plenty of art galleries and host plenty of local events.

    New Westminster

    New West is a small suburb just outside of Vancouver, it’s just a short drive away. Not only do they have plenty of nightlife, diverse culture and plenty of restaurants, they also have over 45 different parks. They offer a healthy balance between rural and urban settings. The rent prices in New West are significantly cheaper but you are still quite close to Vancouver.

    Cheapest City in the Lower Mainland

    If you are looking to live in the lower mainland, you have plenty of options that are more affordable than large cities like Vancouver. Not looking at just housing prices, but the overall cost of living, Abbotsford is considered to be the cheapest City. Living here is actually quite affordable. There is a wide range of housing and housing prices. That being said, the average home price in Abbotsford is around $740.000. They have public transit and plenty of stores. There is a diverse option of restaurants and bars as well.

    Abbotsford is roughly just over an hour away from Vancouver but it is also close to tons of outdoor activities. There are plenty of options for fishing, camping, hiking and other activities that are all just a short drive away.

    Cheapest Rent in the Lower Mainland

    Along with Surrey and Langley, Abbotsford is also considered to have some of the cheapest rent in the lower mainland. For an apartment in any of these places, you are looking at an average rent between $1,600 for and $2,400 per month depending if you are looking for a one bedroom apartment, or a two bedroom apartment.

    As you start to get closer to Vancouver the rents of these types of places get much more expensive. The great thing is that all of these affordable cities are not too far from Vancouver. They all offer nightlife, restaurants and bars as well the ability to be close to outdoor activities.

    Cheapest Place to Live on Vancouver Island

    Vancouver Island is another beautiful place to live in British Columbia and is much different than the big city. There are plenty of small towns to choose from here, but the most affordable is Port Alberni. Port Alberni has some of the most affordable housing prices in all of Western Canada. It has only had a steady population growth of 5% per year for the last few years. There are plenty of job opportunities and the average household income is $58,400 per year.

    It is located right in the heart of Vancouver Island so there are plenty of activities to do nearby. Whether you prefer more city life or outdoorsy activities, there is something for everyone. The one major downside to Port Alberni though is that you are kind of stuck on the island unless you take a ferry to the mainland.

    Cheapest Place to Live in the Okanagan

    If you have ever been to the Okanagan then you know it is one of the beautiful regions in BC. For this reason, plenty of people choose to move there. While there are plenty of places to choose from, the most affordable city is Vernon. The cost of rent is around $1500 per month for one bedroom apartments and the average price of a home is around $650,000.

    This small city is in the Mountains of BC. It is roughly two hours outside of Kelowna and offers a great combination of city and rural life. Vernon offers low rental and housing prices as well as an overall affordable cost of living. You have plenty of choices for shopping and nightlife as well as hiking, hunting and fishing.

    Another great thing about Vernon is the weather. It has hot and humid summers and the winters, while you do get snow, are manageable. In Vernon, there are also plenty of job opportunities for many different industries. One of the largest is the forestry industry.

    Affordable Small Towns in BC

    Throughout BC, there are plenty of small towns that are quite affordable. Many of these towns aren’t super close to major cities but they do have other things to offer. Being that they are small towns though, they are some of the cheapest places to live with very affordable housing options.

    Williams Lake

    Like many places up north, Williams Lake is known for its outdoor activities. The city boasts about having some of the best mountain biking trails. This small town’s local economy is mainly centered around tourism, mining and forestry. They have a smaller population of around 12,000 people.

    In the downtown of Williams Lake, they do have some local businesses and small cafes. They are a very family friendly city and offer frequent community events. While this may not be a place for someone who prefers the speed of city life, if you love the small town feel then this could be the place for you. Especially since the fact that it is a smaller town on the outskirts, it has a very low cost of living. Many people who live out this way choose to purchase their home because it is affordable with a minimum down payment.


    Hope is another small town in BC with a population of only around 7000 people. It is located just outside of the lower mainland and is a popular destination for tourists. They have a quaint downtown core with small businesses, cafes and parks. They are also very close to hunting, fishing and camping destinations.

    While the cost of living is relatively low in hope, there aren't a lot of jobs unlike larger cities. Many people who live there have to work from home or travel to and from other cities for work . However, if you are looking for a low cost, friendly place to live, Hope is a great place to look. The rental prices range around $1500 per month.

    Campbell River

    If you are looking for a remote small town city feel, then Campbell River may be the choice for you. It is one of the most affordable cities in BC and is located on Vancouver Island and is known as the salmon capital of BC. While there is plenty of nightlife and shops, there are also plenty of outdoor activities at your fingertips.

    Campbell River also has plenty of access to public transportation as well as other parts of the island. There is also a large job market with an average annual income of around $70,000. With affordable prices and great job opportunities, Campbell River is becoming more and more popular.

    Most Affordable Place to Retire

    In B.C. there are actually quite a few different places that are affordable to retire, but here are the top 3. All of these are small cities or medium cities with large green spaces and are incredibly affordable.


    Peachland is known for having a cost of living that is 21% lower than the rest of BC. They are located in the Okanagan with picturesque scenery. There are plenty of shops, wineries, restaurants and bars. Really, they have all the amenities you could want. You also have access to lots of water sports, boating, fishing and lots of other outdoor activities.

    Sunshine Coast

    The cost of living on the Sunshine coast is 12% lower than the rest of BC. It's quiet, secluded and has access to a lot of local businesses, restaurants and other amenities. There are also plenty of outdoor activities like fishing and other water related activities.

    While the sunshine coast is technically on the mainland, you do have to take one or two ferries to get there. This depends on which part of the sunshine coast you prefer to live on. While the peace and lower cost of living are ideal for retirement, it can be quite a trip to get anywhere.

    Comox Valley

    Comox Valley is also a great place to live with a low cost of living. The main attraction of this town is its outdoor lifestyle. Fishing, hiking, boating, all of these things are popular here. It has beautiful views and offers a mild climate. That being said, it is also located on Vancouver Island so a ferry is required to get there. It is a nice quiet town though, and is one of the most desired places to live in BC.

    Cheapest Place to Purchase a Home in BC

    Buying a house in BC can be very expensive. Vancouver is actually one of the most expensive places for purchasing a home. The further outside of Vancouver you get the cheaper the housing prices become. With that in mind, one of the cheapest places to purchase a home in BC is Prince George.

    Prince George is one of a few medium sized cities located in Northern BC besides Fort St John. Here there are plenty of things to do such as restaurants and bars, world class fishing, hiking as well as winter sports. To purchase an average home in Prince George the median average house price is $300,000. That is half of what it costs to purchase a home in the lower mainland. The average income in Prince George is $77,500 per year. While it may not be as close to Vancouver as the lower mainland, there are plenty of jobs available there, especially in the forestry industry. For these reasons, Prince George is becoming more and more popular.


    No matter where you choose to live in BC, there are ways to make it affordable. Some people choose to live in tiny houses. Others choose to live on the outskirts of cities and live in existing or mobile homes. It really just depends on what you are looking for and what types of house prices you want to pay. Either way, there are plenty of options to live affordably in BC.

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