We’re all renters for LYFE, right guys?

I know I sure am. I hate home ownership more than the taxi drivers hate honesty. Buying a house is a terrible use of capital. That money could be put to work in more productive ways. Owning also restricts your ability to move for a better job, which the average millennial does four times a year. And we all know Canada’s in a massive housing bubble.

Uh, Nelson.

GOD. Nobody even likes you, italics man.

Don’t you own a house?

Well, yeah. But I like being part of the crowd.

One thing I’ve stressed over the years is living where it’s cheap. If you’re making a salary that’s pretty consistent throughout Canada, it’s silly to live in Vancouver, Toronto, or anywhere else super expensive. It’s better to live in cheaper markets.

That got me thinking. Just how much bang can you get for your buck across Canada? So I decided to look. Here’s what $1,500 per month gets you across Canada.

The criteria 

Here’s what I was looking for:

  • Apartments only
  • Has to be located relatively near downtown. No suburb crap for us.
  • Preference will be given to Kijiji ads with more pictures
  • Limiting the search to Canada’s 10 largest metros
  • Exactly $1,500 per month will be hard to find, so I just wanted to get close

Without further adieu, let’s get started, going from west to east.

Vancouver

vancouver

One in and we’ve already blown our budget out of the water. Now watch me justify it. Financial Uproar: it’s just like the other PF blogs.

Basically, it goes something like this. It’s hard to find an actual apartment in Vancouver that’s worth living in for less than $1,500 per month. Most of the ones in my range were bachelor’s suites, which really should be called suites at all if you think about it. Blew your mind there, didn’t I?

Anyhoo, let’s talk a little bit about this place. It’s 600 square feet with a decent balcony. It has one bedroom, one bath, and has been recently renovated. It’s by a park and golf courses and has a bunch of stores a close walk away, which I guess is important to y’all.

Overall a pretty crummy value. But it’s Vancouver. We probably should have saw that coming.

Calgary

I lived in Calgary a few years ago, and let me tell you, things have changed. A ton. Yowza.

calgary

This place is located close to downtown, with two beds, two baths, a big balcony, and within spitting distance of a grocery store. It’s new, has high-end finishing, a washer/dryer set inside the unit, an exercise room, and even an underground parking lot. In short, it’s pretty damn nice. A much better value than Vancouver, anyway.

Edmonton 

Ah, Edmonton. All of Canada is pretty close to the Arctic Circle. Edmonton is actually inside of it.

edmonton

At least you’ll stay warm inside this two bedroom, two bath 1,227 square foot condo. It’s within walking distance of all sorts of amenities, and includes a game/fitness room, as well as a basketball court and tennis court. I hereby challenge all of you to a game. (Loses 52-0) Best two out of three?

Winnipeg

I used up my cold weather joke before getting to Winterpeg. This was a mistake.

winnipeg

The picture isn’t so impressive, but the place sounds pretty nice. It’s got three bedrooms, two baths, a pool and a dishwasher. It’s located right downtown too, just a few minutes walk away from the Manitoba Legislature. Also, rent of $1.492 is an oddly specific number.

Ottawa

Justin Trudeau will be your neighbor. 100% guaranteed.

ottawa

The pictures on this ad suck too, but it seems like a pretty neat place to live. It’s got two bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and you’re all the way up on the 18th floor. Now you can literally look down on people instead of just figuratively looking down at them. Progress!

Hamilton

I used to think the stories of Hamilton being a dump were exaggerated. Then I visited. Now I know better. My “tour” of Hamilton included a bar “that used to be a Hell’s Angels bar”.

hamilton

OOH, TRENDY. This condo has two bedrooms, one bath, and all sorts of exposed pipe and brick like you see in those HOLLYWOOD MOVIES. It doesn’t have as much in building amenities as some of the newer buildings featured, but it does have in-suite laundry and is located very close to downtown. It’s also exactly $1,500 per month, the only one in this list to match our arbitrary price point.

Toronto

I have to admit, Toronto did a little better than I expected. I actually found an apartment close to downtown for $1,500 I’d actually live in.

toronto

I mean yeah, it’s not great. It looks older, and certainly doesn’t have much in terms of amenities. Included in the features are things like “various rent payment options” and “recycling program in places”. OH BOY. But it’s not such a bad place. I’ve certainly been to worse. Hell, I’ve probably lived in worse.

Kitchener/Waterloo

Insert your own BlackBerry joke here. I’m lazy.

kitchener-waterloo

This place looks a little older, but it’s big, has lots of in-building amenities, has a nice location in downtown Kitchener, and has a bunch of stores and whatnot around it. It seems to be a pretty well maintained building too. I’d certainly squat there illegally while the normal renters are out of the country, but I expected a little more.

Montreal

J’utilise un programme de traduction pour sonner tout de fantaisie. Ne soyez pas Hatin ‘, haineux.

montreal

This place is located right beside McGill, which will impress the one of you reading this who actually went there (Justin Trudeau and I are tight). The unit has two bedrooms, two baths, a nice view, a rooftop lounge, high end finishings, and so on. It’s a nice unit, but the location is the real plus. You could easily exist without a car.

Quebec City

Quebec City was a little harder to find, since most of the Kijiji listings are in French only. Frenchie bastards.

quebec-city

This is a three bedroom place in a good neighborhood (but a little far from downtown), with the kinds of amenities you get when you pay $1,500 per month in places that aren’t Toronto or Vancouver. Parking is extra, but it’s okay. Ballers like you can afford it.

Conclusion

And that’s about it. If you stay away from Toronto or Vancouver, you can live in a pretty sweet place for $1,500 per month. The best bang for your buck is probably in both Quebec cities, but Alberta has also become surprisingly affordable. Special mention to Winnipeg and Quebec City, which were able to offer three bedroom places. Nelly needs a room for his cat, yo.

The point is you’re living like a baller on $1,500 per month in most places across the country. If you can live in a really nice place for $1,500 per month, then it shouldn’t be that hard to find something reasonable for $1,000 or even less each month. Assuming you have equal employment opportunities everywhere, the lesson is simple. Live where you can get the biggest bang for your buck.

This was fun. I think I’ll do a part two sometime, looking at smaller communities.

Tell everyone, yo!