I think my advise if you want to buy is to rent short term, get a feel for the area you want to live in before you buy. Victoria is a lot cheaper than Vancouver, but its no where near cheap either
Cook St Village is a lot like Kits - lots of young to middle age people, very safe, walkable as well as Beacon Hill Park (similar to Stanley Park) and Dallas Rd (basically a road 5 miles? long along the southern waterfront of the city with lots of places to run or play with your dog) are right there.
Fernwood - hip and a good place. The area used to be a dump 20 years ago, but its changed and now there are a few good restaurants, a wine bar, coffee shops and a playhouse. It has a small business area, but it is a fun place
Quadra Village - not sure about that area only because I haven't spent much time there in the last 20 years, it is ok I guess and has definitely cleaned up
I think it really depends where you want to be. Some people like to live within walking distance to town, some people like to live a little bit out of town and drive in. I live in the latter where a dog could run around all day unleashed and I am 20-25 min from downtown
Given the tight rental market the one issue you will have is people wanting to rent to you with a 65 lb dog. Your rental budget is doable. For 400k purchase you could find any average condo you wanted, and maybe some older townhouses too
Not sure what you do for a living, but we have a hot job market.
Edited by tjv, 16 August 2018 - 06:09 PM.