Living in Vancouver certainly has its perks – access to beaches, hiking, and all the natural wonders that BC has to offer. Unfortunately, stunning nature doesn’t pay the rent or mortgage, so many residents are opting to ditch the big city in favour of a more affordable lifestyle elsewhere.
If this sounds like something you’re leaning toward, you’re in luck – real estate trends website Zolo released a report back in January that reveals the most affordable BC cities to live in, and they confirmed in an email to Curiocity that the list still holds up as of May 2023.
We should note that these are not the cheapest places to live in BC from a statistical standpoint. However, they do offer residents some of the cheapest housing prices in the province as well as access to services and amenities. Zolo lists the three most affordable places to live in BC in small, medium, and large housing markets, so let’s dive right in.
Here are the cheapest places to live in BC right now, according to Zolo.
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At the top of the list of affordability is Kamloops, an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise nestled in the sunny BC interior. Hiking, snowboarding, fishing, golfing, and boating all await, and its lively arts and culture scene is adding more and more annual festivals and activities to its itinerary. According to Zolo, the average house price is $757,000, and the average household income is $103,900 per year.
Just a stone’s throw away from Vancouver, Abbotsford is known for its abundance of golf courses, trails, farmers’ markets, and farm-to-table restaurants and craft breweries. Here, the average house price is $1,208,000, and the average annual income is $109,000.
With a population of just under 100,000 people, Nanaimo is a great place for outdoor lovers to enjoy the best of Vancouver Island’s hiking scene. And since it’s only a ferry ride away from Vancouver and plenty of other BC islands, this makes it a great choice for someone who wants to stay well connected to the area. The average house price in Nanaimo is $883,000, and the average household income is $93,500 per year.
And now, for medium-sized markets. Prince George is situated in Northern BC, just above Osoyoos. In the winter months, the city transforms into a skiier’s/snowboarder’s paradise, and in the summer, you’ll be able to hike to your heart’s content. The average house price sits at just $361,000 – which is pretty unbeatable if you’re comparing it to Metro Vancouver prices. The average household income is $107,200, so that leaves plenty of room for savings.
With an average house price of $910,000 and average household income of $97,100 per year – Vernon is the ideal “small town” setting, with plenty of nature, adventure sports, and lake activities to enjoy, while also being situated just 50 minutes away from Kelowna.
In the heart of Comox Valley on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Courtenay offers residents some of the most stunning coastlines to explore, in addition to a plethora of spa amenities, shopping, and restaurants to enjoy. The average house price is $788,000 and the average annual income sits at $91,800 per year.
Fort St. John
And finally, we come to the small cities. Fort St. John is situated in the northeast, with only 21,000 people living in the town. If you’re looking for the polar opposite of big city life, this is it. Residents get to enjoy plenty of nature, craft breweries, and art galleries during their 300+ sunny days a year. The average house price sits at $537,000, and the average household income easily covers this at $119,700.
Located in the northwest of BC, Terrace boasts world-class fishing, backcountry hiking opportunities, river rafting, and golfing amenities. And since the city has the largest population in the area, there are plenty of dining and shopping amenities. Here, the average house price is $459,000, and the average household income is $103,400 per year.
Last but not least, we land at Prince Rupert. Known for its many rainbow sightings, local cafes, and wildlife, Prince Rupert is one of the most affordable oceanside cities around, with an average house price of $608,000 and an average household income of $111,000 per year. If a scenic view is important to you in your new home, this is a great option to consider.
So there you have it. If you’re looking to move somewhere more affordable but want to stay in the province, these are some of the cheapest places to live in BC right now.