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Is Kelowna an expensive place to live

Is Kelowna an expensive place to live?

Let me guess—you’re curious about the cost of living in the lakeside paradise of Kelowna, eh? Whether you’re a local or looking for a new home, this charming city with its appealing cost of living won’t disappoint!

Living in Kelowna might be somewhat expensive, but this largely depends on one’s personal financial situation and lifestyle choices. Though Kelowna’s housing is a bit pricey, it’s actually a bargain compared to other Canadian cities.

In fact, the cost of housing in Kelowna averages about 30% cheaper than Vancouver and is approximately 18% cheaper than Victoria.

But hey, there’s more to ponder than this—the cost of living in Kelowna isn’t solely confined to housing. So read on to learn what this stunning city has to offer; it could just be the value-for-money home you’re looking for!

Housing Value

Housing Value

As of July 2023, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Kelowna is $1,080. This figure does indicate a 33% decrease compared to the previous year but is still high when compared to national averages.

As for purchasing a property, the luxury market in Kelowna has shown some striking numbers. The typical starting price for a luxury home is around $1,200,000, which saw an upswing during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Even within this niche market, there are properties that exceed this average. For example, the most expensive residential property in the Okanagan, located in Kelowna, was valued at a staggering $10.3 million.

To help you more, here’s a breakdown of the housing expenses from LivingCost.org related to living in Kelowna.

Housing (Average Rent per Month)Prices 
1-bedroom apartment  (downtown)$1,080
1-bedroom apartment (outside the city centre) $871
3-bedroom apartment (downtown)$1,867
3-bedroom apartment (outside the city centre)$1,623

In terms of ranking, Kelowna has often been listed among the cities with the most expensive housing market in Canada. 

A report dating back to early 2021 ranks Kelowna as the 6th priciest rent market in the country. Another report has ranked Kelowna as the fifth most expensive city for rental prices.

The high housing values in Kelowna can be attributed to a number of factors including the city’s location, great economy, and growing population. This combination of organic growth and in-migration often puts a strain on housing supply, thereby driving up prices.

To make your hunt for an affordable place in Kelowna kind of easy, online property websites like Realtor.ca or Zillow are great starting points. These websites showcase a range of options, from condos to townhomes to detached houses.

Utilities

Utilities

Utility costs in Kelowna appear to fall within a relatively standard range. A summary of costs in Kelowna indicates that a single person’s estimated monthly utility cost is about $1,066, according to LivingCost.org.

Here’s a breakdown of the utility expenses from LivingCost.org related to living in Kelowna.

Utility itemPrices 
Utility bill for a single person$92.9
Utility bill for a family$144
Internet plan (50 mbps + 1 mo unlimited)$60.6

Your utility bills in Kelowna on average, for a single person could be around $92.9 per month. That’s not too bad, considering it covers costs like electricity, water, and trash disposal. 

If you’ve got a family tagging along, expect utility bills to be a bit steeper. But hey, it’s all relative – more folks usually mean more consumption. 

Your bill could wind up costing around $144 per month. Still, it’s a reasonable deal, especially when you think about all the comfort and convenience utilities bring to your household.

For a comfortable 50 mbps plan with unlimited data—perfect for all your streaming, or work calls—you’re looking at around $60.6 per month. It’s a small price to pay for being connected to the world, and let’s admit, a fair amount of our digital forms of fun.

Food 

Food

In comparison to other Canadian cities, Kelowna’s food and grocery prices tend to be somewhat higher. 
Factors contributing to these expenses include transportation costs, as goods often need to be imported into the region, and high local demand, especially during the peak tourist seasons. 

Your typical monthly grocery bill in this slice of paradise is about $428.61.  That’s the cost you’d normally incur from picking up essentials like your loaf of bread, a litre of milk, a kilogram of rice, and proteins like chicken breast and round steak.

While we’re still talking about those lunchtime munchies, you can grab a decent lunch menu for just $10.4, and if you fancy a fast-food meal on a lazy day, it will barely blip on your budget at $8.97. And no, we aren’t forgetting about the joy of drinks. 

A chilled beer at a pub should settle happily at $5.34, while your go-go juice (also known as coffee) will have you counting out just $3.92. So, yeah, Kelowna’s food and drink scene certainly has a lot to offer without the heavy price tag.

To give you a clearer perspective, here’s a breakdown of the food expenses from LivingCost.org.

Groceries Prices Eating OutPrices
Bread$2.21Menu for lunch$10.4
1 litre of milk $2.1Restaurant dinner$51.8
1 kg of rice$2.53Fast food meal$8.97
1 kg of chicken breast$11.1Beer in a pub$5.34
1 kg of round steak$13.6Coffee$3.92

Transportation

Transportation

Kelowna’s form of public transit as well as the Central Okanagan region is BC Transit, operated locally as Kelowna Regional Transit System. 

This transit system is extensive, offering regular services to most parts of the city as well as neighbouring communities.. 

Here’s a breakdown of the transportation expenses from LivingCost.org related to living in Kelowna.

Transportation (Fare)Prices 
1-way ticket (local transport ticket)$1.86
Monthly pass (local transport ticket)$51.1 
Taxi start (normal tariff)$16
Gasoline (1 litre)$1.4

Much like TransLink and BC Transit elsewhere in the province, Kelowna Regional Transit offers a variety of discounted fares for seniors, students, children, and individuals with special needs. 

For instance, seniors (65 or over) can get a monthly pass for $45 to $51, while students can also get discounted rates. 

Moreover, don’t forget to check out the different monthly passes and discounts according to your age or if you have student status. Getting the right pass can help save you more money in the long run.

Our Final Verdict: Is it expensive to live in Kelowna?

So, how does living in Kelowna stack up cost wise? Well, it’s actually a mixed bag. As 

Like any city, it can be expensive. However, as we mentioned before, the cost of living in Kelowna is cheaper than other major Canadian cities.

Plus, with strategic budgeting, you can find ways to make living in this beautiful city cheaper than the norm.

If you’re looking at housing, especially buying a home, you’re entering a pretty pricey market. Rents are also relatively high, though they’ve seen a bit of a decrease lately.

Here’s a summary of the monthly cost of living in Kelowna from LivingCost.org:

FactorsOne personFamily of 3-5
Total monthly rent$1,727$4,068
Total monthly without rent$661$2,193
Rent and utilities$1,066$1,876
Food$487$1,272
Transport$52.7$143

Things brighten up considerably when we look at utility costs. Whether you’re single or juggling a family, the costs for utilities such as electricity, water, and trash disposal, are pretty reasonable, nestled within a standard range.

Groceries and eating out, though, might make you gulp—and not in a tasty way. Compared to other Canadian cities, Kelowna leans more toward the expensive side when it comes to filling up your pantry or dining in its restaurants.

Transportation costs are friendly enough, especially if you make good use of the Kelowna Regional Transit System. In fact, seniors, students, and children get to enjoy discounted fares, which is always a bonus!

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