Urban vs. suburban is a debate that many prospective home buyers have to endure. There are many pros and cons to each and home buyers need to consider their current and future situations in order to decide which suits their needs best.
Here are a few factors to consider when choosing urban vs. suburban:
1. Square Footage vs. Cost – generally in a suburban neighbourhood, you will get more square footage for less than it will cost in the city. People have varying space requirements, but most couples need at least two bedrooms and two bathrooms to feel comfortable. The cost of a two-bedroom condo in an urban setting could be the same as a three-bedroom home with a yard in the suburbs.
2. Cost Savings – savings can be reinvested into your mortgage to pay it down much faster or saved to allow for early retirement.
3. Crime – statistically speaking, the suburbs are safer. The suburbs can be friendlier so there is a good chance you will know everyone on your block, something that doesn’t often happen in the bustle of the city. Knowing that the neighbours will watch the house when you are away is something money can’t buy!
4. Schools – they tend to be newer in the suburbs, with more amenities, and better access to the outdoors including playing fields and playgrounds. More attention can be paid to your children because classes are less crowded.
5. Outdoor Activities – you will generally find more parks, community centres, ice rinks, pools and golf courses in the suburbs.
6. Social Life – Urban homes trump in proximity to social activities and city life; however parties and get-togethers at your house could make the extra travel time to the suburbs worthwhile for your inner city friends.
7. Convenience – every possible amenity is available at your doorstep in major urban centres. In the suburbs, you will need to travel farther for daily amenities.
8. Established Neighbourhoods – take note of the infrastructure surrounding the neighbourhood, like roads, bridges, tunnels, parks, public amenities, and libraries. It’s important that the amenities in your neighbourhood suit your lifestyle, either in an urban or suburban setting.
9. Convenient Shopping – suburbs offer a mix of big box shopping, and boutiques, although you’ll likely need to drive to find it. In urban centres, you’ll likely find yourself within walking distance to shopping and amenities, although inflation of goods tends to be higher.
10. Transit – urban centres are paramount for public transit; however, suburban centres should still have service routes.
11. Traditional Services – chiropractors, psychologists or specialists of any kind will always be easier and more options will be available in the city.
12. Nightlife – urban centres thrive on nightlife. Popular pubs, local markets, restaurants and nightlife would be within walking distance (or only a short drive).
13. Parking – most potential buyers of downtown condos ask about the availability of parking within or around any building being considered. For most people, one or two spaces are enough. If entertaining frequently, consider how much visitor parking for friends and family.
14. Market Volatility – losses are typically less dramatic in an urban setting but gains are usually higher.
15. Commute – The biggest potential drawback in choosing a suburban home is the commute. It’s a longer commute than living in an urban area and travel costs can be more expensive. More time spent commuting means less time for yourself, and doing what you love. Living downtown could be a huge time-saver, saving an hour or two each day.
Do you have any advice on urban vs. suburban? Share them with us in the comments.
Pssst… Bid farewell to the city! This suburban home in Oakville, Ontario
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