Paris, the City of Light, is not know for its attractive cost of living. It is often ranked in the top 5 most expensive cities in the world, both for visitors and those making a permanent move. On the other side of the Atlantic, many major North American cities have a similar reputation (think New York, San Francisco, Toronto…), but how does Montréal compare?
Let’s start with house prices.
Towards the end of 2017, the average price per metre squared for purchasing property in Paris exceeded €9,000/m2 (approx. $14,000), with prices continuing to increase during the start of 2018 (source: Notaires Paris L’Ile de France).
In contrast, Montréal’s average price per metre squared was approx. $3,000 – $4,000/m2 in March 2018 (source: CMHC). It’s also interesting to note that the actual national average for house prices in Canada was just over $491,000 in March 2018. For Montréal, however, the average house price was much lower at $338,200 (source: CREA).
Similarly for renting properties, Paris is typically more expensive than Montréal. According to a ranking article by CNBC in 2017, the average price to rent a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Montréal was $850, compared with $1,730 for an equivalent property is Paris…more than double the cost!
Of course prices vary depending on property size and location, so if you’re prepared to live further away from the city centre, in the suburbs, then you’ll typically be looking at paying much less than for downtown properties.
1-0 to Montréal
But housing isn’t everything, and in terms of everyday spending, Montréal is catching up.
Typically on Montréal, you can expect to pay more for telephone and internet subscriptions, and even some grocery items (such as milk, bread, bottled water and alcohol). For a mobile phone: in France, you can find an all-inclusive, unlimited plan for around $30, while in Canada, you’ll expect to pay at least $85 to have an all unlimited plan. For internet, telephone and TV at home, the story is the same: $40 in France (unlimited) versus at least $100 in Canada, where speed and data can also be limited.
Apart from these anomalies, it’s safe to say that a significant amount of everyday spending is cheaper in Montréal. This includes expenditure on things such as: clothing, childcare, sports and leisure, and eating out. In terms of essential goods found in supermarkets, Canada’s culture of promotions and special offers means that often you will be able to lower your grocery shopping spend, which could well balance out the cost of those few items which would typically be cheaper to buy in Paris.
2-0 to Montréal
For utilities, you can also look to pay less in Montréal. Québec province has the advantage of cheap electricity, with prices of approximately CAN7¢/kW, versus CAN15¢/kW in France. However, expect to consume more electricity in Montréal given the harsh winter temperatures!
In addition to cheap electricity, Montréal also has the advantage of free water, and fuel (gas) for your car is cheaper than in Paris (anywhere from CAN60¢ to $1 less per litre depending on supply.
Final score: 3-0 to Montréal
In summary, the current overall cost of living is lower in Montréal, meaning your hard-earned-cash will go further than it would in Paris. However, the numbers game isn’t everything, so before making a decision to move anywhere it is important to consider more ‘qualitative’ criteria, such as culture, public services, social cohesion, events and activities, education, career prospects…the list goes on!
If you do decide Montréal is the city for you, you can find out far more about the practicalities of relocating, and topics specific to Montréal, on our Montréal Guide. Click here for more information.