Before you read: The numbers in this article reflect our best estimates of what it costs to live comfortably in Montreal as a single adult. When researching this article, the writer relies on external sources and data, as well as their own lived experience. Living costs will vary from person to person, however. These figures are intended to provide those considering moving to Montreal with a rough idea of the income they’ll need to earn to get by in the city.
Montreal is one of the most exciting places to live in Canada, and a cultural and artistic hub. Featuring phenomenal food (including the world’s best bagels), a thriving arts scene, stunning architecture, the beautiful French language, and a robust tech industry, Montreal offers something for everyone.
While Montreal has long had a reputation as a cheap place to live (at least compared to Toronto and Vancouver), the city’s cost of living has been rising steadily as inflation increases.
What does it cost to live in Montreal in 2023? We’ve dug deep to uncover what a single person needs to earn to live comfortably in one of Canada’s greatest cities.
Montreal home prices have soared in recent years, although they have begun to dip as interest rates have steadily increased. As of April 2023, the median selling price of a single-family home was $540,000, according to the latest figures from the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers — a 7% year-over-year decrease.
While the minimum down payment required by law in Canada is 5%, let’s assume you put down 20% to avoid having to pay for mortgage insurance. In this case, your down payment would be $108,000.
Based on the current offerings (at the time of writing) from Royal Bank, TD Bank, and Bank of Montreal, the rate for a fixed five-year mortgage with an amortization period of 25 years or less in Montreal is 5.54%. Using TD Bank’s mortgage calculator, that gives us a monthly mortgage payment of $2,646.96.
You’ll also need to tack on homeowners insurance, since many lenders won’t provide you with a mortgage unless you have proof of insurance. Home insurance in Montreal averages $984 a year, or $82 a month, according to a February 2023 study by Point2.
Finally, property tax needs to be factored into your monthly budget. Property taxes are based on the assessed value of your property, and the borough you reside in. The property tax bill for the year is paid in two instalments, with an average cost of $4,390 a year, according to a report in The Montreal Gazette (based on an assessed value of $592,167). Factoring in that assessment, you should budget about $365.83 a month, but this will vary depending on the assessed value of your home, and the neighbourhood you live in.
Total Monthly Homebuying Cost: $3,094.79
For decades, Montreal had a reputation for cheap rent prices, especially compared to other major Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver. However, the average rent in Montreal has been rising steadily in recent years. According to a report from the rental platform Rentals.ca, the average price for an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment in Montreal in March 2023 was $1,623/month. That price marks an increase of 7.1% from the same month a year prior.
While renter’s insurance isn’t mandatory in Quebec, it’s highly recommended to be covered in case of fire, water damage, or theft. Insurance costs will vary based on a number of factors, including the monetary amount of your contents, the age, location, and set-up of your residence, and more. Tenant insurance will run you about $35.02 a month, on average, according to Square One Insurance’s tenant insurance quoter.
This rate is for a 30-year-old male living alone in a one-bedroom downtown apartment in Montreal. It includes $1,000,000 in personal and premises liability coverage, and $30,000 in personal property coverage.
Total Monthly Renting Cost: $1,658.02
Montreal has one of the best public transportation systems in the world, making it possible to travel across the city (and even deep into the suburbs) without the need for a car. With a fast subway system and vast network of bus and train routes, navigating Montreal by public transport is often the easiest way to get around the city.
Montreal’s public transport is run by the STM (Société de transport de Montréal). Users can purchase individual tickets, daily, weekly, or monthly passes. If you plan to use public transport often, a monthly pass is the most economical option.
A monthly pass granting you access to the Island of Montreal (Zone A), which includes most of the city, currently runs $97.00. A discount student pass is available for $58 a month, with no age restriction.
If you need to also travel to and from the suburbs of Laval and Longueil, you need a Zone A+B pass, which costs $155 a month. For those who live farther north and south of the island, you’ll need a Zone A+B+C pass, which costs $190 a month.
Total Monthly Public Transportation Cost: $97.00 (Zone A pass)
While Montreal has a comprehensive and affordable public transportation system, having a car to get around the city (especially in winter) is beneficial. That said, owning a car in a large city isn’t cheap.
According to Statistics Canada, the average monthly price of gas in Montreal in March 2023 is 160.01 cents per litre. Using Canada’s top-selling car, the Toyota Corolla, as an example, filling up the tank comes to just under $80. If we consider about two full tanks a month, that brings the gas total to $160 monthly. Fortunately, there are still ways to save on gas if you’re looking to lessen the pain at the pump.
On top of gas, drivers have to factor in their monthly car payment. A 2023 Toyota Corolla financed over seven years at 6.49% interest will require a monthly payment of about $368, including tax and a down payment of $1,000.
Then, of course, drivers must also pay for auto insurance. Using the 2023 Camry example above, a 30-year-old male living in downtown Montreal with a clean record could expect to pay around $132/month for car insurance, according to Lussier.co’s Quebec auto insurance quoting tool.
It’s important to remember that premiums vary greatly based on individual vehicles, driving records, addresses, among other factors.
Finally, Montreal drivers also have to consider the costs of parking. You can purchase a permit parking pass that allows you to park in reserved zones in your neighbourhood. Prices vary by the area and the size of your car (gas-guzzling SUVs cost more). Using the Camry example, a parking pass in the popular Plateau neighbourhood costs $256 a year, or $21.33 a month.
Total Monthly Driving Cost: $681.33
Food costs have soared in the past few years, with the average grocery bill in Quebec up a whopping 11% in 2022, according to Canada’s Food Price Report 2023. Prepared by the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, the report states that a single male aged 19-30 living alone will spend $4,380 this year on food. A single woman in the same age group will spend $3,813. That gives us an average total of $4,096.50 a year, or $341.38 a month.
Food prices have not only gone up considerably at the grocery store, but at restaurants as well. While cheaper options can always be found, the average meal at a lower-priced restaurant is about $15 per person, with a mid-tier solo meal in a restaurant coming in at about $25. Factoring in two takeout or delivery meals from a lower-priced restaurant a week, and two sit-down meals at a mid-tier restaurant a month brings the restaurant total to $170 a month.
Delivery service apps have also increased their service fees, so it’s never been more expensive to get your favourite meal delivered to your door.
Tip: some of the best and cheapest restaurants in Montreal are located close to universities.
Total Monthly Food Cost: $511.38
Phone and Internet
Cell phone plans can vary widely based on the type of package you select. If you bring your own device, you can lock in a cheaper monthly rate. We took a look at the most popular offerings from the top three providers and averaged the cost.
- Rogers Infinite Essential Plan: $65 a month, 25GB of data, unlimited international texting
- Bell Ultimate Plan: $65 a month, 25GB of data, unlimited international texting
- Telus Unlimited Plan: $50 a month, 25GB of data, unlimited international texting
Average Monthly Cell Phone Cost: $60
Home internet service has never been faster, with most providers also now offering unlimited downloading and uploading as well. We took a look at comparable basic plans from three of the most popular internet providers in Montreal and averaged the monthly cost.
- Bell Fibe Plan: $70/month, download speed up to 50 Mbps, unlimited use
- Videotron Internet 60 Plan: $63/month, download speed up to 60 Mbps, unlimited use
- Electronic Box Fibre 50: $40/month, 50 Mbps download, unlimited use
Average Monthly Internet Cost: $57.67 a month
Tip: Most internet providers in Montreal offer a bundle package if you also add phone service and/or TV service. You may also be able to save more each month by supplying your own modem.
Total Monthly Phone and Internet: $117.67
Econofitness: With dozens of gyms across Montreal (including women-only and 24/7 options), Econofitness is one of the most popular fitness centres in Montreal. Memberships range in price and amenity access but we’ve gone with their most popular Platinum plan, which costs $27.98/month.
YMCA: In addition to the gyms, YMCA memberships also include access to their pools and a variety of classes, from cycling classes to mind & body wellness classes, and much more. There are a handful of locations in the city, including popular locations downtown and in the Mile End. The monthly cost of aYMCA membership ranges based on age. We’ve selected the 25-65 age range for our calculations, which costs $57.98 a month.
Yoga: Montreal has yoga studios all across the city, including studios offering hot yoga, group classes, and more. Prices vary by studio and practice, but for unlimited classes, you can generally expect to pay about $120 a month. If you’re curious about yoga but don’t want to commit to a plan, most studios offer introductory rates for the first one to three months.
Average Monthly Fitness Cost: $68.65
Even those living in a bustling city like Montreal need to kick back and catch up on their stories sometimes. With that in mind, here are the latest prices for the most popular streaming services in Canada:
Netflix: $16.49/month for the Standard Plan, with access to two devices
Apple TV+: $8.99/month
Prime Video: $7.99/month
Total Monthly Streaming Cost: $53.46* (excluding taxes)
*Note: Since many Montrealers likely pay for more than one streaming service, we did not average the above costs.
Montreal has a vibrant concert scene 12 months of the year, though ticket prices have risen steadily since COVID as costs of touring have increased. Prices vary wildly based on the type of act and the venue, with the average arena show ticket running $100, a large club show averaging $50, and smaller club shows averaging $25. Montreal also has plenty of smaller venues with tickets averaging $10. For the price-conscious, there are many festivals with daily free outdoor shows all summer long (including the Montreal Jazz Fest, Fracos, and more).
Average Monthly Concert Cost: $46.25 (assuming one show a month)
Total Monthly Entertainment Cost: $99.71, including one concert and all four primary streaming services.
Is Montreal a good place to live?
Yes, Montreal is a great place to live. If you can get past the cold winters, Montreal is one of the most vibrant cities in Canada, with a rich cultural history, great food, world-renowned art galleries, a thriving tech sector, and more. While the Montreal cost of living has increased, it still remains competitive compared with other major Canadian cities.
What it costs to live in Montreal in 2023
Spending habits vary significantly from person to person. The figures below, which we arrived at after using a Quebec income tax calculator, are entirely dependent on how and where you choose to spend your money and are meant to provide a baseline to help you determine how much money you will need to live in Montreal.
They also only account for what it costs to cover just the bare minimum expenses described above, and nothing more.
|Monthly cost||Annual cost||Gross salary needed||Net salary|
|Homebuyer using public transit||$3,989.20||$47,870.40||$72,700||$48,914|
|Homebuyer using a car||$4,573.53||$54,882.36||$82,300||$54,910|
|Renter using public transit||$2,552.43||$30,629.16||$42,200||$30,645|
|Renter using a car||$3,136.76||$37,641.12||$53,600||$37,662|
Frequently asked questions
If you’re renting in Montreal, a salary of $53,600 should cover your monthly expenses, whether you drive or take public transport.
If you’re buying in Montreal, a salary of $82,300 should cover your monthly expenses, whether you drive or take public transport.
Keep in mind that the above salaries are for single folks who live alone. If you live with a partner or roommates, you could potentially get by on a lower salary and still maintain the same quality of life in Montreal. Alternatively, if you’re a family of five, chances are high you would need more money than this to get by.
While Montreal has gotten much more expensive over the years, it remains one of the cheaper major cities in Canada. Compared to Toronto and Vancouver, rent and housing prices are much more affordable, and it’s easier to stretch your dollar in Montreal than in many other major Canadian cities.
With rental and home prices skyrocketing in recent years, the cheapest areas to live are outside of the city centre. According to data supplied to the Montreal Gazette by Upky, a Montreal-based real estate website, the cheapest neighbourhood for a one-bedroom apartment is in Chomedy, Laval — about a 30-40 minute drive from downtown Montreal.