Comparing Neighbourhoods — Vancouver

CMHC's study compares different types of neighbourhoods located in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), based on their proximity to downtown and the types of homes they offer.

Source: Statistics Canada. Neighbourhood types were defined by establishing consistent thresholds for housing types, using data from the 2001 Census. Area boundaries (e.g. central area vs. inner or outer suburbs) were based on definitions established by the Transportation Association of Canada's Urban Indicator Survey project and refined through discussions with local municipal staff.Map of the Greater Vancouver Regional District

Neighbourhood Types

Neighbourhoods in the central area where homes are mostly high- and low-rise apartments and condominiums, like West End and Yaletown.

Vancouver

Vancouver

Neighbourhoods in the central area offering a mix of housing types, like Kitsilano and Fairview.

Vancouver

Vancouver

Neighbourhoods in the inner suburbs offering a mix of housing types*, like South Cambie and Riley Park.

Vancouver

Vancouver

Neighbourhoods in the inner suburbs where homes are mostly detached, like those found in South Vancouver.

Vancouver

Neighbourhoods in the outer suburbs offering a mix of housing types**, like parts of Burnaby, such as Metrotown and "the Heights".

Vancouver

Neighbourhoods in the outer suburbs where homes are mostly detached, like parts of Surrey and Langley.

Vancouver

Vancouver

* Also refers to the most compact neighbourhoods of the inner suburbs.
**Also refers to the most compact neighbourhoods of the outer suburbs.

How do different Vancouver neighbourhoods compare:

What were the monthly costs to rent or own a home in 2001?

For renters, average monthly housing costs were lowest in centrally located neighbourhoods offering a mix of housing, like Kitsilano and Fairview, and were highest in inner suburban neighbourhoods where homes are mostly detached, like South Vancouver. For owners, housing costs were similar across all neighbourhood types. However, given that a higher percentage of people rented in central area neighbourhoods compared to suburban neighbourhoods, the overall housing costs were lowest on average in neighbourhoods in the central area.

Average monthly housing costs

Average monthly housing costs - vancouver
Data is from the 2001 Census, Statistics Canada, and has not been adapted to reflect inflation. It includes rent for renters; for owners, it comprises mortgage payments, utilities, property taxes and condo fees. Monthly mortgage payments for identically priced homes today may differ significantly depending on date of purchase and other variables in individual homeowners' mortgage situations.

Photos and descriptions of these types of neighbourhoods

Did you know

Did you know that if you drive about 18,000 km per year, it costs on average over $9,000 annually to own and operate a car in Canada? If living in a more pedestrian/public transit-oriented development enables you to get by with one less car, think of the savings.

Did you know

But consider your transportation costs. People in central area neighbourhoods, like Kitsilano and West End, drive less and own fewer cars than those in suburban neighbourhoods, like Langley and Surrey.

How many rooms are there in the homes?

Homes in suburban neighbourhoods, like South Vancouver, Surrey and Langley, offer more space, in terms of number of bedrooms and total rooms, than centrally located ones, in neighbourhoods like West End and Kitsilano. However, for many residents living in the urban core, a smaller home is a worthy trade-off for being closer to amenities like parks and shopping.

Average number of rooms

Average number of rooms - vancouver
Data is from the 2001 Census, Statistics Canada.
*excludes bathrooms, halls and vestibules

Photos and descriptions of these types of neighbourhoods

How close are the homes to schools, jobs, parks and other daily destinations?

Homes in centrally located neighbourhoods, like Kitsilano and Yaletown, are closer to certain daily destinations like jobs, schools and access to rapid transit as well as shopping and entertainment than those in suburban neighbourhoods, like Langley, Burnaby and South Vancouver. Proximity to parks is highest in inner suburban neighbourhoods, like in South Vancouver.

Walking, cycling and using public transit are more feasible when these destinations are close to home and when routes for pedestrians and cyclists are pleasant and safe, for example, on streets with slow-moving cars, shade trees overhead and shops or homes beside the sidewalk, rather than parking lots. Therefore people who live in walk-cycle-transit friendly neighbourhoods have more choice in their mode of transportation — they don't have to take their car for every trip. Walking or biking to get to your daily destinations is excellent for your health and driving less or needing one less car means you save money.

Did you know
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, like walking or biking, to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and stroke. Where homes are within walking distance of stores and other services, people are 2.4 times more likely to meet the 30-minute minimum than those in homes that are not within a convenient or pleasant walk to stores/services.
Did you know

Proximity to daily destinations

Proximity to daily destinations - vancouver
Sources: CanMapR Streetfiles V6.3 and the 2001 Census, Statistics Canada.
*includes elementary and secondary schools only

Photos and descriptions of these types of neighbourhoods

Do people get by with fewer cars or do they drive less?

The study estimates that people living in central area neighbourhoods, like Yaletown and Kitsilano, own fewer cars than those in suburban neighbourhoods, even accounting for the average number of people and income per household. They also drive less for weekday urban trips, like going to work or shopping. Owning fewer cars saves money and those who decide to manage without a car can expect big annual savings. Even car owners can expect to save money by driving less. If you drive 18,000 km per year, the average cost to own and operate a vehicle in Canada is over $9,000 annually.

Estimated vehicles owned per household, on average

Estimated vehicles owned per household - vancouver
Source: Estimated by CMHC's Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Urban Travel: Tool for Evaluating Neighbourhood Sustainability. All scenarios based on weekday urban travel, 245 weekdays, average GVRD household size of 2.6 people, and GVRD average household income. These estimates are meant only to provide a relative comparison between neighbourhood types. Although empirical data from actual GVRD neighbourhoods was used to input into the estimating tool, actual values for each neighbourhood and household will vary from the estimates shown above.

Estimated distance driven for weekday urban trips
(annual km per household, on average)

Estimated distance driven for weekday urban trips
Source: Estimated by CMHC's Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Urban Travel: Tool for Evaluating Neighbourhood Sustainability. All scenarios based on weekday urban travel, 245 weekdays, average GVRD household size of 2.6 people, and GVRD average household income. These estimates are meant only to provide a relative comparison between neighbourhood types. Although empirical data from actual GVRD neighbourhoods was used to input into the estimating tool, actual values for each neighbourhood and household will vary from the estimates shown above.

Photos and descriptions of these types of neighbourhoods

Do people reduce greenhouse gas emissions by driving less?

Households located in central area neighbourhoods produce fewer greenhouse gases from weekday urban trips, like going to work or shopping, than those in suburban neighbourhoods.

Estimated annual greenhouse gas emissions from weekday urban car trips
(kg of GHG per household, on average)

Estimated annual greenhouse gas emissions from weekday urban car trips - vancouver
Source: Estimated by CMHC's Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Urban Travel: Tool for Evaluating Neighbourhood Sustainability. All scenarios based on weekday urban travel, 245 weekdays, average GVRD household size of 2.6 people, and GVRD average household income. These estimates are meant only to provide a relative comparison between neighbourhood types. Although empirical data from actual GVRD neighbourhoods was used to input into the estimating tool, actual values for each neighbourhood and household will vary from the estimates shown above. Additional GHG emissions would be incurred from public transit use. On an equivalent passenger-km basis, GHGs from public transit are considerably less than from private vehicles.

Photos and descriptions of these types of neighbourhoods

Is there a range of housing choices, so people can stay in the neighbourhood as their needs change?

Centrally located neighbourhoods offering a mix of housing, like Kitsilano and Fairview, have the broadest range of housing choices, followed by certain pockets of the suburbs, like parts of Burnaby and neighbourhoods in the inner suburbs, like Riley Park. First, these neighbourhoods offer a broader mix of housing types, including townhouses, high- and low-rise apartments, single-detached homes and semis. Many suburban neighbourhoods, like parts of Langley and South Vancouver, tend to offer a higher proportion of single-detached homes, while central area neighbourhoods, like West End and Yaletown, tend to offer mainly high- and low-rise apartments and condominiums. They also offer significantly more rental compared to owned housing, whereas the outer suburbs have a significantly higher proportion of owned housing and fewer rental options.

A neighbourhood that offers a variety of housing choices is a one where you can stay as your age, family and income change.

Mix of house types

Mix of housing types - vancouver
Data from the 2001 Census, Statistics Canada.
This index describes the mix of homes that are single-detached, semi-detached, townhouses and apartments. 0 = all one type; 1.0 = equal mix of different types.

Mix of house types

Mix of house types - vancouver
Data from the 2001 Census, Statistics Canada.


Percentage of rental housing

Percentage of rental housing - vancouver
Data from the 2001 Census, Statistics Canada.

Photos and descriptions of these types of neighbourhoods

Study Limitations

The results shown above are averages for each neighbourhood type and will differ by individual household. While they are based on measured or estimated data from real neighbourhoods, they are meant only to provide a comparison of relative values for each variable between neighbourhood types.

This study was prepared by IBI Group. This research project was funded by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The contents are the responsibility of the author (s) and CMHC accepts no responsibility for them or any consequence arising from the reader's use of the information, materials and techniques described herein.

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