Two years ago it was Vancouver’s turn to be in the world’s spotlight during the 2010 Winter Games. This summer it’s London’s turn.

You likely have you own opinion of how these two cities compare in terms of playing host to one of the most watched sporting events in the world. But how do these two cities compare cost wise?

I’ve done some research to compare the cost of living in Vancouver and London, two of the world’s most desirable cities to live. (Note: All prices I have found are listed in US dollars.)

Rental and Real Estate Costs in Vancouver and London

The cost per square meter to purchase an apartment for sale in London’s city center is just under $11,000 while the cost to purchase an apartment or condo for sale in Vancouver is just over $7,000 per square meter.

Even though the cost to purchase a condo in London is more than 53% higher than to buy in Vancouver’s city center the same size condo outside of the city center is only 13% higher in London than in Vancouver. I am sure that just like many Vancouver residents opt to live in suburbs such as Surrey, Langley, Delta and even White Rock, residents in London also opt for lower cost neighborhoods outside of the city center.

If you are thinking of renting real estate, London is still more expensive than Vancouver. A 1 bedroom apartment in London’s city center rents for over $2,000 a month while in Vancouver the average 1 bedroom apartment goes for about $1,200 to 1,400.

Fashion, Sports and Leisure Costs

One thing is for certain – the Olympic games are a time to show off your country’s sense of style and your ability to compete in the athetlic arena. Here are a few cost comparisons between Vancouver and London:

 Vancouver  London
Monthly Membership at a Fitness Club $53.24 $79.53
Movie Theatre or Cinema Ticket  $13.12  $14.80
Pair of name brand athletic shoes  $116.08  $89.31
 Pair of mid-range name brand jeans  $64.20  $94.20

Food and Drink

I would imagine that if you are in London over the next couple weeks the food and drink costs would be significantly higher, but on any other normal week this is how costs for food and drink compare between Vancouver and London:

 Vancouver  London
3 Course Meal for 2 $65.12 $70.97
½ L Domestic Beer  $5.44  $5.05
Cappuccino  $3.62  $3.58
Milk (1L)  $2.03  $1.38
Cheese (1 kg)  $12.43  $10.85
Apples (1 kg)  $3.16  $2.58

Other Costs of Living in Vancouver

After your housing and “fun” expenses are paid there are the ones we all have to pay including utilities and transportation. In most categories except mobile and internet services, London is significantly more expensive.

 Vancouver  London
Monthly public transit pass $87.85 $170.30
Taxi Start  $3.22  $4.19
Gas (1liter)  $1.39  $1.99

After investigating all of these costs I found it interesting to see that the median monthly disposable income (after tax) is very similar for residents in Vancouver and London. Sitting at $3,138, London’s average disposable income is just half a percentage point lower than Vancouver’s.

How about you? If you could move to any city in the world and not have to worry about the cost of living there, where would it be?