Moving to British Columbia: Where Should You Live? — 2024

British Columbia, located on the west coast of Canada, is known for its rugged coastline and majestic mountains. British Columbia offers breathtaking scenery and endless outdoor activities. Choosing where to settle down can be a challenge with so many great options available.

Moving to British Columbia is a great decision for jobseekers, entrepreneurs, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. However, the high cost of living, traffic congestion, and limited affordability are important factors to consider before making the move.

Read on to discover the top 7 best places to live in British Columbia with the best quality of life in 2024.

Methodology

Based on “Best” being a subjective word, below is our methodology to compile the best places.

Using our existing ranking of the safest and cheapest places to live in British Columbia, we based our ranking on 3 criteria: safety, affordability and quality of life. 

Our ranking methodology is based on a careful analysis of crime rates derived from Statistics Canada, provided by incident-based crime statistics, detailed violations, and police services in British Columbia in 2022. To ensure accuracy, we calculated the average number of various crimes per 1000 people.

Affordability takes into account the prices of housing and renting. Statistics come from Redfin for the average cost of buying a property and Zumper for the average cost of rent for a 1-bed apartment.

The “Best quality of life” aspect is measured based on feedback from real people who have moved to this area in our database or real people from trusted online forums. More specifically, we look for positive feedback on job opportunities, quality of education, quality of healthcare, feeling of safety, public transportation, environment (cleanliness), as well as availability of recreational facilities and parks.

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Oak Bay

oak bay bc
  • Crime Rate: 30.58 crimes per 1,000 people
  • Average cost of rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $2,850
  • Average cost of buying a property: $2,149,000

Oak Bay, nestled on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and bordered by the Pacific Ocean, offers a picturesque suburban community renowned for its natural beauty and heritage charm. With multiple recreational parks, tree-lined streets, and historic landmarks, Oak Bay provides residents with a serene and idyllic lifestyle.

As of 2021, Oak Bay boasts several unique characteristics. Notably, it lacks gas stations but boasts over 20 restaurants and cafés, with Oak Bay Village considered the oldest and most captivating part of Greater Victoria. The community thrives with vibrant social groups and organizations, fostering a strong sense of connection and purpose among residents.

Safety is a priority in Oak Bay, with a low crime rate of 30.58 crimes per 1,000 people, contributing to a high quality of life for locals. Residents can enjoy a variety of amenities, including parks, playgrounds, sports facilities, beaches, and golf courses, all maintained by Oak Bay Parks, Recreation, and Culture. Whether strolling along the waterfront or indulging in outdoor activities, Oak Bay offers a welcoming environment for all to enjoy year-round. In terms of housing and rental fees, as of November 2023, the average cost of buying a property is $2,149,000, and a 1-bed apartment rent is $2,850.

District of Oak Bay (Apr 2024), Statistics Canada (2022), Zumper (Dec 2023) & Redfin (Dec 2023)

Oak Bay, British Columbia

Spallumcheen

Okanagan-Valley-BC-image-april-2024
  • Crime Rate: 42.02 crimes per 1,000 people
  • Average cost of rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $1,926
  • Average cost of buying a property: $972,000

Spallumcheen, located in the beautiful Spallumcheen Valley, offers a unique blend of rural and urban living. With a combination of farming, industrial, and residential opportunities, it is the oldest and largest municipality in the southern interior of British Columbia. The township boasts a vibrant industrial park and a strong agricultural presence. Popular attractions such as the Farmstrong Cider Company and Historic O’Keefe Ranch make Spallumcheen well worth a visit.

Its picturesque setting, with stunning views of rolling hills and lush farmland, creates a peaceful and serene atmosphere. The community maintains a strong sense of togetherness, with various events and activities bringing residents together throughout the year. Conveniently located near larger cities like Vernon and Kelowna, Spallumcheen offers residents access to urban amenities while still enjoying the benefits of small-town living.

As for safety, the crime rate in Spallumcheen is 42.02 crimes per 1,000 people. In terms of housing and rental fees, as of November 2023, the average cost of buying a property is $972,000, and a 1-bed apartment rent is $1,926.

Spallumcheen (Apr 2024)Statistics Canada (2022), Zumper (Dec 2023) & Redfin (Dec 2023)

Spallumcheen, British Columbia

West Vancouver

West Vancouver-city-image-april-2024 - Ambleside Park
  • Crime Rate: 61.89 crimes per 1,000 people
  • Average cost of rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $2,600
  • Average cost of buying a property: $3,769,000

Located on Vancouver’s northwestern side, West Vancouver is a municipality within Metro Vancouver known for its natural beauty, with iconic oceanfront parks such as Ambleside and Whytecliff. Ideal for those who enjoy leisurely strolls along the coastline and water-related activities.

It offers a quick commute with the Blue Bus system, which works in coordination with TransLink for easy access to the GVA. Additionally, there is a strong promotion of eco-friendly travel through cycling and e-bikes. Its vibrant community, engaged in events like the Harmony Arts Festival, attracts professionals in film and tourism, promoting a robust job market in these sectors.

The community shows a crime rate of 61.89 crimes per 1,000 people, providing residents with a strong sense of security and a luxury lifestyle. In terms of housing and rental fees, as of November 2023, the average cost of buying a property is $3,769,000, and a 1-bed apartment rent is $2,600.

District of West Vancouver (Nov 2023), Statistics Canada (2022, Zumper (Dec 2023) & Redfin (Dec 2023)

West Vancouver, British Columbia

Maple Ridge

White Rock-city-image-april-2024 - Pier
  • Crime Rate: 76.27 crimes per 1,000 people
  • Average cost of rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $2,450
  • Average cost of buying a property: $1,262,000

White Rock, located in southwest Metro Vancouver, is known for its coastal beauty and the variety of recreational and cultural programs dedicated to its residents, despite its small population of only 21,939. With parks, trails, and the iconic White Rock Pier along its waterfront, it offers a perfect seaside living.

It has a diverse community that welcomes cultural events, where arts seamlessly become a natural part of residents’ daily lives. It blends a coastal charm, surrounded by seafood dining and shopping options, offering a small-town atmosphere with modern urban conveniences and a short commute to Vancouver. In terms of housing and rental fees, as of November 2023, the average cost of buying a property is $1,262,000, and a 1-bed apartment rent is $2,450.

With a reported crime rate of 76.27 crimes per 1,000 people, White Rock provides a sense of security for residents to call it home.

City of White Rock (Nov 2023), Statistics Canada (2022), Zumper (Dec 2023) & Redfin (Dec 2023)

White Rock, British Columbia

Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge-city-image-april-2024 - Whonnock Lake
  • Crime Rate: 79.35 crimes per 1,000 people
  • Average cost of rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $1,775
  • Average cost of buying a property: $962,450

Maple Ridge is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting an abundance of activities amidst its stunning natural setting. Equestrian trails, fishing spots along the Fraser River, and a historic golf course cater to diverse interests. Cycling routes traverse scenic dykes and rugged landscapes, while an extensive network of parks and trails provides ample opportunities for hiking and exploring.

Conveniently located near local mountains, Maple Ridge offers easy access to skiing and snow sports at nearby resorts. Additionally, residents can enjoy various recreational facilities such as leisure centers, fitness centers, pools, ice rinks, and more. In terms of housing and rental fees, as of November 2023, the average cost of buying a property is $962,450, and a 1-bed apartment rent is $1,775.

Safety is a priority in Maple Ridge, with a reported crime rate of 79.35 crimes per 1,000 people, offering peace of mind to its residents. With its array of activities and commitment to safety, Maple Ridge provides a vibrant and enriching lifestyle for all who call it home.

Maple Ridge (Apr 2024), Statistics Canada (2022), Zumper (Dec 2023) & Redfin (Dec 2023)

Maple Ridge, British Columbia

Cranbrook

Apartment in Cranbrook
  • Crime Rate: 138.05 crimes per 1,000 people
  • Average cost of rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $1,888
  • Average cost of buying a property: $424,000

Cranbrook is a city located in the southeastern corner of BC, in the Kootenay region. Surrounded by spectacular mountains and landscapes, it offers recreational opportunities nearby, such as parks like Cranbrook Community Forest, hiking trails, trails ideal for mountain biking and lakes.

The city boasts a mix of modern amenities and a welcoming small-town atmosphere. It is an ideal choice if you prefer a peaceful vibe, as it is not as noisy as a busy city. For safety, it has a reported crime rate of 138.05 crimes per 1,000 people. 

The household composition is primarily single-person and single-family, with housing types mainly consisting of single-detached houses and some apartment buildings. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,888, and the average cost of buying a property is $424,000 as of December 2023.

Statistics Canada (2022), Zumper (Dec 2023) & Redfin (Dec 2023)

Cranbrook, BC

Vernon

Apartment in Vernon
  • Crime Rate: 142.58 crimes per 1,000 people
  • Average cost of rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $2,023
  • Average cost of buying a property: $657,000

Located in the Okanagan Valley, Vernon is surrounded by rolling hills and green spaces that provide stunning views of Kalamalka and Okanagan Lakes, with beautiful beaches. The parks feature lakefront campgrounds, hiking trails, and are dog-friendly. Walking is safe and pleasant due to its walking trails and easy hikes. For safety, it has a reported crime rate of 142.58 crimes per 1,000 people. 

The household composition primarily consists of single individuals, ranging from their 50s to 80s. The housing types are apartments, and condominiums, with only a few single-detached houses. As of December 2023, the average cost of buying a property is $657,000 and the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $2,023.

Vernon (Dec 2023), Statistics Canada (2022), Zumper (Dec 2023) & Redfin (Dec 2023)

Vernon, BC

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Conclusion

British Columbia is well known for its breathtaking landscapes, towering mountains, and job prospects; however, certain parts of the province have expensive living expenses. The good news is that British Columbia offers several reasonably priced locations where you may live comfortably, safely, and enjoy a high standard of living without going over the budget.

The Top 7 best places to live in BC list is meant to be a reference. Whether you enjoy world-class fishing, mountain biking, or the small-town charm, there are alternatives to suit your preferences and budget.

Are you moving to BC soon? Check out some of the best movers in Vancouver and the surrounding areas.

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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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