Living In The City Vs. The Suburbs: Pros And Cons

Know What You Want

When you get down to it, whether you live in the city or the suburbs, you will find yourself more or less suited to your environment based on several considerations. That which you need will dictate which option best fits your present residential situation. There are positives and negatives to either living scenario, and these will be explored here.


If you go into the apartment hunt with clear objectives in mind, you can figure out which choice is objectively more in line with what you really need. Whether you live in a small community outside Dallas, a nice 3-bedroom apartment in a bustling city like Chicago, commutes will be a factor, as will the local amenities of the living solution you choose. Monthly costs, utility costs, HOA fees, and proximity to services or entertainment will also be items to consider.

Budgetary Considerations And Length Of Stay

First, what kind of budget are you looking at, and how long are you intending to live in a given area? An apartment in the city could save you money over a villa in the countryside, or a home in the suburbs; even if you’re getting a great deal on a mortgage.

Property values fluctuate, and selling a property you own could be difficult and even result in a loss for you if done at the wrong time. Investing in a home is long-term, and it isn’t very liquid. That’s a pro if you’re planning on sticking around for a while, and con if you’re not.

Meanwhile, if you’re going to a place for five years, and know you plan on moving after that time, an apartment makes the best sense—but apartments come in all shapes and sizes.

Collateral Considerations

Sometimes renting in the suburbs makes sense too, as does buying real estate in the city. But in terms of rental, the monthly unit cost may not be reflective of savings. A vehicle diminishes in value very quickly. The moment it rolls off the truck its value drops. If you’ve got a long commute from the suburbs, gas, insurance, repairs, wear and tear, and incidentals could end up costing you more than a pricier unit nearer your job. It’s important to crunch the numbers.

Something else the suburbs tend to have over the city is a reduced crime rate. Granted, there are safer districts of even the largest mega-cities; but the better the district, the higher the cost of living. Still, you do get what you paid for in some places. Luxury apartments can give you a taste of top-tier living in an estate, but piecemeal as a lessee.

Where Is The “Action” For You?

Even if the district you find isn’t perhaps the best, its central locality near the pulse of city life could be enough of a draw on its own. Suburban living puts you away from all the “action”, as it were. You’ve got to drive ten to a hundred miles (or one to three hours) just to get where things are going on, then either stay overnight or arrange a ride home.

When you live downtown, you can just leave your apartment and hang out near the fun all night. Even so, there is a limit to fun, isn’t there? It’s hard to be excited about a bar crawl in your sixties but to each his own. Depending on what you like, that may be just the ticket. So nearby amenities are a bonus of living in the city.

A big downside is crumbling infrastructure. By definition, suburbs proceed metropolitan centers. They’re always younger, in the big scheme of things. Suburban communities are almost always in a diminished state of disrepair as a result. There won’t be as many potholes, properties will be better maintained, parks won’t be covered in graffiti, etcetera.

The Bigger Picture Can Have Multiple Levels

Generally, the bigger picture will promote a residence located away from a city’s center; unless, of course, you have resources required to manage infrastructure yourself. Otherwise, buying a suburban house makes a lot of sense. With such a home, you can even increase property value.

This is quite unlikely in an apartment. Yet in any big city where millions congregate, hours in traffic can be bad for your health and vehicle. There’s a trade-off which could make the better investment, in terms of psychology, a downtown luxury apartment.

As you can see, the pros and cons are quite subjective. Provided you know what you want, and what you won’t put up with, you’ll find the best option. Just be sure to look at more than one unit; whether you’re seeking to buy or rent, in-town or out of it.


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