Vancouver the most expensive city in North America

Vancouver expensive

Once again, Vancouver has been ranked as the most expensive city in North America (35th globally), which puts it ahead of New York City (36th globally). According to ECA International, Vancouver is North America’s most expensive location for the second year in a row. 

The majority will lay blame on the city’s high cost of housing, hence the increased push to densify outside of downtown, just look at the Oakridge Centre redevelopment plans that include a couple of 40+ floor residential towers. Those kind of proposals would have been unheard of in the past.

As the dream of owning detached home turns into a financial nightmare, many are turning to the condo life.

However, this survey looked at day-to-day goods and it seems our fair city is expensive for a lot more than just housing:

ECA International’s cost of living indices are calculated based upon surveys carried out annually in March and September using a basket of day-to-day goods and services.  The data used above refers to year-on-year movements between ECA’s September 2012 and 2011 surveys.
The data is used by ECA clients to calculate cost of living allowances for assignees. The survey covers:
Food: Groceries; dairy produce; meat and fish; fresh fruit and vegetables
Basic: Drink and tobacco; miscellaneous goods; services
General: Clothing; electrical goods; motoring; meals out
High housing costs, high prices for day-to-day goods, throw in depressed salaries, and you have the recipe for disaster. Sooner or later something will have to give.

Here is what the ECA International said about Vancouver and the Americas:

The Canadian city of Vancouver is North America’s most expensive location for the second year in a row. The city ranks 35th globally and is followed by Manhattan. The strengthening of the US dollar against major currencies has led to all of the US locations surveyed moving up the ranking in the past 12 months – despite the cost of items in the cost of living basket increasing at a slower rate than many other parts of the world.

In South America, the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, sitting in 7th position globally, is the most expensive city followed by Argentina’s Buenos Aires (47th globally). The Brazilian locations of Rio de Janeiro (64th) and Sao Paulo (69th) follow. However, both have fallen more than 40 places in the ranking in the past 12 months – largely a result of the weakening of the Brazilian real against the US dollar and other major currencies.


Image  by Maurice Li

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