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Affordability plays a key role in your lifestyle. Living in more affordable city allows you to put your money towards other things other than only housing – or it even let’s you have a chance at owning your own house. A recent report from Oxford Economics outlines the most affordable cities, as well as the least affordable cities, and what they found is that Vancouver is one of the least affordable cities to live in in North America, while Edmonton is one of the most affordable cities to live in. So, it’s to no surprise that there are many conversations from families and investors looking to move from Vancouver BC, to Edmonton AB!
Having lived in a few different cities myself, such as Victoria and Calgary, I know it’s not easy to make the move. There are a lot of unknowns, what ifs, etc etc. If you are think about moving from Vancouver to Edmonton, I have put together this guide – I hope it helps! If you still have questions, please feel free to ask, I’m always happy to help.
Moving From Vancouver to Edmonton
Housing In Edmonton
The price of real estate is significantly lower in Edmonton compared to Vancouver. If you’re looking at a standard single family home in Edmonton, based on data from the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average price is around $350,000 to $400,000 – that same home in Vancouver would be worth $1,186,000! The market in Edmonton actually gives families a chance to enter the market – especially growing families.
This style of home is also close to amenities and within the city – you aren’t pushed out of the city just to be able to afford a home. If you would rather be outside of the city, there are a number of suburbs around the area that are all relatively close in price, for example St Albert is a very popular choice, as well as Sherwood Park (that’s where I live!)
Don’t forget to factor in your property tax – for the average home of $400,000 you can expect to pay around $3800 a year in property tax. You can pay this annually, or you can factor it into your mortgage or pay monthly through the city. To get an idea of what you’ll be paying, you can use the city’s tool, Property Tax Estimator.
Utilities In Edmonton
You can expect to pay between $200 – $400 a month, but utilities will vary from house to house because of size, use, season, and also because there are different service providers to choose from whereas BC only has BC Hydro. Within Edmonton city limits, EPCOR is the only company that manages water, but you’ll have your choice for power and gas. My personal preference is Enmax – but I highly recommend that you shop around for the best rates as these can vary! Keep in mind that your utilities will go up in the winter because of the cold. It’s much colder here in Edmonton in the winter than in Vancouver – so that means it requires more to heat, which means more money.
Don’t forget to notify your current utility providers if you are moving out. As soon as you know your move in date in Edmonton, schedule your utilities – sometimes there can be a bit of a delay, so the sooner the better! While you’re doing this, it’s a good idea to include your change of address for Canada Post as well, they can set up mail forwarding.
Jobs in Edmonton
In general, you can expect a higher income in Edmonton than in Vancouver. Edmonton has a big industrial job market – and growing in others. You can find tons of available jobs on Indeed – this is our most popular site for open positions in Edmonton. To get a better idea of what’s in demand in the labour market, you can also take a look at the government’s Job Market Forecast.
Taxes in Edmonton
In Alberta, we’re lucky to only have GST and no PST. You can expect to only pay 5% in taxes instead of the 12% you are currently paying in Vancouver. We do have some extra taxes on things like tobacco, fuel, and tourism. To get a complete breakdown of all things taxes, the Government of Alberta has put together this resource for you.
Weather in Edmonton
The weather in Edmonton is much different than Vancouver. Summer’s are hot and dry, and winter’s are cold and snowy – this will be a big adjustment. But honestly, when I lived in Victoria I was actually colder than living here! I feel like the coast is a damp cold, and no matter how many layers I put on, I just couldn’t warm up. Here in Edmonton, throw on some layers and head out into the cold and you’ll be fine! Even on cold days we get sunshine – instead of the rainy, grey clouds. This all comes down to preference really.
The weather though does have an impact on driving. You’ll have to adjust for winter driving. The roads get icy and snowy. I remember in Victoria it snowed like an inch and the whole city shut down – that doesn’t happen here. There might be a few things to shut down like school buses once it hits -30. I suggest you learn about winter driving, there are things you’ll need to know like plugging your car in. This requires a block heater – years ago I bought a Honda Civic in Vancouver and it didn’t come with a block heater, so yours might not have one – you will need this in Alberta.
Don’t worry though – it’s not like we live in igloos haha. It’s actually very hot in the summer, and fall is beautiful out here. You’ll enjoy the long, bright sunny says – and the open skies!
Daycares in Edmonton
If you have young kids, you’ll most likely be curious about daycares! Typically the cost per month will range from $800 – $1200 depending on the facility, and whether it’s a daycare or a dayhome. Alberta also has a daycare subsidy if your income is below $90,000. Once you start your search for a daycare or day home, I suggest you use this tool from the government, you’ll be able to look up the facility and see it’s records and inspection results, as well as ensure it’s accredited.
Alberta just recently created a deal with the Federal government, they agreed to reduce child care fees by an average of 50% in early 2022 and to provide $10 per day fees, on average, by 2026
Transit and Transportation in Edmonton
Transit in Edmonton isn’t as developed as Vancouver – but we’re also not as big! A monthly transit pass is $100, and that covers our busses and our LRT. There is a lot of work going into Edmonton transit at the moment with the development of a new LRT line. If you rely on transit, I would suggest taking a look at the map and figuring out your route and if that works for you before purchasing a home.
If you have a car, expect to spend less time in traffic here than in Vancouver. We are a smaller city with less people. We also have the ring road, Anthony Henday, that goes around the entire city. You can generally get from one end of the city to the other in about 30 minutes. It will also cost you less! At this very moment our gas prices are $1.39, where as Vancouver’s is averaging around $1.61.
If you are bringing your vehicle from Vancouver to Edmonton, be prepared to get your Alberta’s driver’s license, registration, and insurance within 90 days of moving here.
Schools in Edmonton
If you’re moving to Edmonton with kids, you’ll need to find them a school – where to start? In Edmonton, you are assigned a designated school based on the neighborhood you live in – however, you do have a choice if you would like to change it. If you’d like to learn more about the school system, Edmonton Public Schools has created a resource page if you’re new to the city.
Health Care and Doctors in Edmonton
Once you move, you’ll need to apply for Alberta Health Care within 3 months. You’ll then want to find a family doctor – this sometimes can be a little challenging. You can use the Find a Family Doctor tool, this will give you a list of doctors accepting new patients. For specialized doctors like a pediatrician for example, you’ll most likely need a referral from your family doctor. You can also call 811, this is our health link number. They can help you find a doctor, as well as answer basic medical questions and provide you with the appropriate advice.
Recreation and Outdoor Living in Edmonton
Although we don’t have the mountains and ocean as a backyard, we still have a lot to offer. Edmonton is home to the largest urban park in Canada, the River Valley. There are so many places to explore along the river valley – you can also go boating, canoeing, and paddle boarding.
We also have Rogers Place, home to the Edmonton Oilers, as well as the main concert hub.
If you want to escape the city we have a number of lakes nearby like Wabamun Lake, or provincial parks like Elk Island, or make it a weekend trip to the mountains Banff or Jasper, both of which are 4 hours away.
Things to Do in Edmonton
Edmonton has a variety of activities for everyone. Take part in the art culture here and go explore the Art Gallery of Alberta. Or if you’re big into shopping we have North America’s largest shopping mall – West Edmonton Mall. Not only does the mall have tons of shopping, but there’s an amusement park, a water park, bowling, a theatre, and so much more.
Edmonton is also known as festival city with over 50 festivals throughout the year – like the popular Fringe Festival for example.
If you’re looking for a nice evening out with a special someone, yeg date night has tons of ideas to try out.
Safety in Edmonton
Just like any city there will be problems, but overall Edmonton is a safe place to live. Many people will have different opinions about which neighbourhood is the safest based on their own experiences. My suggestion would be to look at the crime map by the Edmonton Police, from there you can decide what feels best for you. Since this map is created by the Edmonton Police, the surrounding communities like St. Albert and Sherwood Park aren’t included.
Finding a Home in Edmonton
Moving can be stressful, and moving from a different province can be even more stressful. I want to help ease the stress by helping you navigate your move. Before you even get to Edmonton we can set up consultations, video tours, discuss the current market – whatever helps make the process easier! I’ll learn what’s most important to you and how you picture your home and lifestyle and we can begin your home search.
Even if you’re not sure about moving to Edmonton, or just have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m always happy to help.