Officially, Vancouver consists of 23 distinct neighborhoods, but for all practical purposes, it’s divided into 2: East and West, with Main Street being the unofficial demarcation line.
The west side, generally, which includes downtown, is more affluent and contains some of the most luxurious (and pricey) real estate in Vancouver. West Vancouver is less multicultural than its eastern counterpart and consists largely of Europeans and Asian immigrants. The main exception is the highly gentrified West End, popular among numerous ethnic groups and also the city’s gay and lesbian population.
Multi-million dollar detached homes are the norm in West Vancouver, and you’ll rarely find an estate in the MLS listings for under 7 figures. Particularly popular west side neighbourhoods include: Yaletown, home of some of the city’s trendiest shops, boutiques, and eateries; Kitsilano, or “Kits,” a former hippie haven that boasts some of the most historic and eclectic homes in the city; and Fairview, which features prestigious single-family homes along with a smattering of blue-collar apartment buildings.
“East Van,” meanwhile, is more diverse, affordable, and “down to earth” and is home to many working-class residents, young families, singles, and students. Still, it’s not the west side alone that makes Vancouver, according to Forbes, the second most expensive real estate market in North America. Million-dollar homes are popping up more frequently in East Van in recent years, and even modest-sized homes in many neighbourhoods fetch $600k on the real estate market.
It’s difficult to pigeonhole the neighbourhoods of Vancouver into specific categories, but generally speaking, if your pocketbooks are endlessly deep, the upscale Dunbar, West Point Grey, and Shaughnessy neighbourhoods are ideal. Riley Park and Grandview are among the city’s most family-friendly areas, while night owls will feel right at home in Mount Pleasant, Fairview, or the West End. The latter, along with West Point Grey and Kitsilano, is ideal for big-spending beach bums as well.
The only eyesore, according to many locals, is the Downtown Eastside, where crime rates are considerably higher and property values continue to bottom out. If you're considering purchasing a home there, be sure to first spend some time getting a good feel for its vibes to make sure you’re comfortable with it.