The Pros & Cons of Moving to Nanaimo, BC: Vancouver Island Bliss

Nanaimo is known as Vancouver Island's "Harbour City" for good reason. This beautiful west coast city stretches out for over 20 kilometres along Vancouver Island's east coastline, offering an abundant supply of waterfront property. British Columbia is well known for its stunning beauty, and Nanaimo is a city that contributes to BC's flattering reputation.

Downtown Nanaimo at Sunrise

Nanaimo's best neighbourhoods, waterfront vistas, and community amenities combine for a lifestyle that appeals to many; however, there are pros and cons to living in any community in the world. When considering a move to any new city, it is important to imagine yourself living there. Do the advantages of Nanaimo, BC, outweigh the disadvantages? There are many factors to consider when moving to a new city, so be sure to explore them as you start looking at the pros and cons of living in Nanaimo. 

Once you're done reading about the pros and cons of moving to Nanaimo, you can easily search all Nanaimo Houses for Sale here.

10 Reasons Nanaimo is a Great Place to Live

  • Stunning natural landscapes, including waterfront views, mountains, and lush forests
  • Mild climate with warm summers and mild winters
  • Outdoor activities like hiking, biking, kayaking, and boating along with easy access to parks, trails, and the ocean
  • Nanaimo has a friendly community with numerous local events, festivals, and markets
  • Educational opportunities for students of all ages; home to Vancouver Island University
  • Quality healthcare facilities and services
  • Nanaimo boasts a vibrant arts scene, museums, and historic sites
  • Well-connected city with a ferry service to Vancouver, a local airport, and efficient public transit
  • Nanaimo offers a more affordable cost of living than most other large communities
  • Diverse and growing economy with opportunities in various sectors such as technology, education, and tourism

Upsides of Moving to Nanaimo, British Columbia

There are many wonderful reasons to move to Nanaimo, and its growing population indicates that current and prospective residents recognize its appeal.

Nanaimo is Centrally Located

Nanaimo is smack in the middle of Vancouver Island, with easy access to many popular destinations. Before receiving its current nickname, the "Harbour City," Nanaimo was known as the "Hub City," as it literally is in the hub of it all. Not only is Nanaimo the hub of Vancouver Island, but the city layout is central by design. Every neighbourhood in town has easy access to amenities, including downtown and the many popular shopping areas.

The Nanaimo Parkway provides a smooth drive around the outskirts of Nanaimo to surrounding areas that avoid travelling through Old City Nanaimo. Public transit is provided by Nanaimo Regional Transit, which operates buses around the city, and BC Ferry, which operates out of three terminals in the city.

Vancouver Island has a population of approximately 865,000, and residents from all over the Island can comfortably reach Nanaimo. Numerous nearby BC communities are highly popular for their outdoor activities. Residents of Nanaimo do not have to travel far to enjoy all the wonder Vancouver Island has to offer.

Several of the most popular destinations and attractions on Vancouver Island are nearby. The city of Victoria is a great day trip option, as are Strathcona Provincial Park and Mount Washington Alpine Resort. The beautiful beaches in the nearby Parksville community, Tofino, and Port Alberni are all popular options for residents.

Nanaimo has two BC Ferry terminals that take passengers to and from different areas of Vancouver, British Columbia. The terminal in Nanaimo's Departure Bay area heads to Vancouver's Horseshoe Bay, and the Duke Point ferry takes you to Vancouver Tsawwassen. Nanaimo residents can visit Vancouver or travel to Beautiful British Columbia in under two hours.

For those who enjoy travel, the Nanaimo Airport makes flying off the Island easy and convenient for Nanaimo residents.

Buying in Nanaimo is a Good Real Estate Investment

Nanaimo is considered a big city and is the second largest on Vancouver Island. With a population nearing 100,000, this thriving city continues to grow, and the abundance of new construction homes in Nanaimo can meet the growing demand. Many benefits come with being in a large city, including the residents' variety of real estate options.

Nanaimo is a sprawling city with many desirable suburbs and neighbourhoods. All areas in Nanaimo are easily accessible to the downtown core, shopping districts, outdoor recreation, entertainment, dining, and every amenity imaginable. Most homes are priced from the $300s to $1.5 million, but luxury homes in Nanaimo typically list from $2 million and up.

Home buyers have multiple options when purchasing property in Nanaimo. Properties range from oceanfront, lakefront, water views, and mountain views. You can live in the countryside, rural areas, and quiet suburban neighbourhoods like Central Nanaimo.

Most homes in Nanaimo sit on large lots, and house styles are wide-ranging. Heritage, Victorian, Craftsman, West Coast, and modern contemporary are a few examples of architectural styles in Nanaimo.

Due to its popularity and location, many consider Nanaimo an excellent place to invest in real estate. One-third of Nanaimo's population is renting, while two-thirds own their own homes. Nanaimo has many options and price points for those who wish to buy an income-producing rental property. With an attractive blend of condominiums, single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses in Nanaimo, there's a great variety of choices for different purchasing budgets.

The cost of living in Nanaimo is lower than many of its cousin cities, which appeals to homeowners and tenants. According to Statistics Canada, the average annual household income is nearly $60,000 in Nanaimo.

Our monthly real estate statistics blog offer a detailed breakdown of the current single-family real estate landscape in Nanaimo, providing you with the latest market insights.

Another benefit of making a property investment in Nanaimo is that the city is financially sound. The city encourages growth, diversity and opportunity. Tourism and the BC industry provide Nanaimo with a healthy stream of possibilities that strengthen its economy.

Nanaimo is a Beach Town in a Wilderness Playground

Nanaimo is divided between the coastline and the mountains, both of which are within easy reach. One can climb a mountain in the morning and kayak in the afternoon. Anyone who loves outdoor adventure will be satisfied with the selection that Nanaimo has to offer.

Nanaimo offers beaches, lakes, trails, forests, mountains, ocean, parks, and more. Any outdoor enthusiast will be happy to know they don't have to go far to find excitement. Should one ever tire of the local offerings or wish for more, several nearby BC Provincial Parks, mountains, and long sandy beaches can be experienced.

Within Nanaimo itself, there are many beautiful parks for locals to enjoy. Every neighbourhood has either a lake, trail, beach, playground, forest, walkway, or other natural escape. Most areas in Nanaimo have gorgeous ocean, mountain, lakeside, or forested views.

Downsides of Moving to a City Like Nanaimo, BC

Many areas in the city are very attractive, such as the quaint Old City Quarter, the Uplands neighbourhood, Departure Bay and North Nanaimo; however, driving through Nanaimo, you will encounter plenty of low-density buildings, box stores, car lots, malls and block-style restaurants.  

Nanaimo Can Be Busy

Every large city has its quota of driving during rush-hour frustrations, and Nanaimo shares this common inconvenience. As Nanaimo is the hub of Vancouver Island, many travellers pass by using the Nanaimo Parkway, and during high traffic times, this extra load puts residents at a disadvantage. Not only do locals deal with the usual annoying rush-hour traffic, but they must also endure congestion caused by drivers passing through.

The Island Highway, including the Parkway, is used to transport goods to every city, town and community on Vancouver Island. When the volume is high, traffic can be heavy. Approximately 80% of Nanaimo's residents use their vehicles to commute and get around.

Besides the downtown core, the City of Nanaimo is spread out, alleviating some intercity congestion, especially as many residents circumvent the city by using the parkway. However, one can expect delays and traffic issues during Nanaimo's peak travel and commuting times.

Nanaimo has many large box stores and shopping malls that are often busy during prime shopping hours. Busy parking lots and long lineups often create delays. Most of the population in Nanaimo is employed, with very few being self-employed, causing weekend and after-work shopping traffic to be high.

Limited Health & Hospital Care

The Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is the only hospital to serve this city's growing population. Often over capacity and with the busiest emergency room on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo's hospital sometimes struggles to keep up with patient demand.

Several nearby communities rely on Nanaimo's hospital and medical system to meet their healthcare needs. With its growing demographics, Nanaimo's health care is stretched thin. Communities across Vancouver Island have been working to improve access to medical clinics, doctors and other health professionals, so prospective residents should keep this in mind.

Before moving to Nanaimo, British Columbia, it is advisable to register with Island Health through HealthLink BC to assist you in securing a family doctor.

Other Considerations When Moving to Nanaimo

There are many reasons to choose your new location. If you are nearing retirement, you may wonder if Nanaimo is a good place to retire. Education is important for families with children. Quality of life should be considered, and if you work from home, you will want your new city to meet your internet needs.

Education in Nanaimo

Nanaimo has educational options for all levels of schooling and is home to the main campus of Vancouver Island University, which attracts students from around the world. Other post-secondary education options available in Nanaimo include Sprott Shaw College, Academy of Learning College, and Discovery Community College.

Private schools are an option for young students in Nanaimo, including Montessori, Nanaimo Christian and Aspengrove School in the neighbouring Lantzville community.

Speedy Internet

The internet availability and speed in Nanaimo is excellent and an important consideration for those working from home. Wherever you are in Nanaimo, you will likely have little trouble with your internet connection.

Great Air Quality

Something to consider when moving to a larger city is its air quality. Many big cities have issues with air pollution created by exhaust, emissions, wildfires and several other sources. 

Nanaimo's air quality is excellent and considered to be a very low health risk. According to the Province of British Columbia, Nanaimo's Air Quality Health Index is typically very low-risk. Environment and Climate Change Canada compiled Nanaimo's weather stats, which show historical and real-time air quality for Nanaimo.

British Columbia is known for its clean air; however, during BC's wildfire season, Nanaimo's air quality can temporarily spike along with the rest of the province.

Nanaimo is a Good Place to Retire

There are many things to consider when choosing a city for retirement, and Nanaimo has many excellent qualities that make it a good city to retire.

Lifestyle and quality of life are important to many, and Nanaimo has that in spades. Outdoor activities are plentiful, and access to amenities and necessities is within reach. Nanaimo's climate is comfortable and moderate, the housing selection is varied, and many neighbourhoods are safe, making Nanaimo a perfect city to retire to.

Expert Advice on Moving to Harbour City

Establish your team of real estate specialists in advance to make your move as easy and smooth as possible. There are many Factors to Consider When Moving to a New City, and getting the best professional help can make a world of difference.

Preparing for your move, finding your dream home, selling your home and buying another all require forethought, time and assistance. The LoyalHomes team can get you started with a personalized home search, mortgage pre-approval, calculating your mortgage, a Free Market Analysis, pricing your home to sell, and so much more.

Our team of real estate experts is available to answer any real estate questions or concerns you may have to help you move to a new city.

We hope you've found this information about moving to Nanaimo, BC, helpful. For your convenience, you can easily search all Nanaimo Houses for Sale here.

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