Suburban vs. Urban Living: Which Is Right for Your Lifestyle?

Buying: Suburbs vs. Urban

Whether you’re buying your first home or relocating to a new area, deciding where to buy is no easy decision. It could be a matter of choosing one part of your hometown over another. For others, buying a home means looking far and wide for a great deal, nice atmosphere, and exciting amenities.

No matter how large your search area is for your next home, remember that there are three distinct areas you could end up in: rural, suburban, or urban. If you’re trying to decide between suburban and urban real estate, here’s what you need to think about before you make the move.

Defining Rural, Suburban, and Urban

Depending on the state you’re looking to purchase a home in, a truly rural area may be hard to find. While the Census does not officially define a rural area, it’s generally considered to be an area away from cities and large towns. Rural areas have a low population density and the primary industries tend to center around agriculture. That means lots of open space and quiet nights.

On the other side of the spectrum from rural living, you’ll find urban areas. Most of the country’s population is compacted into a handful of major cities, and these areas boast plenty of amenities. The downside is that, with such a high population density, urban real estate is expensive and homes tend to be smaller. Most city dwellers live in townhomes, apartments, or small condos.

Meanwhile, the suburbs exist just outside of a major city. This means they have a higher population density than rural areas, but they’re a good compromise if you don’t like crowded cities. Compared to urban areas, the suburbs generally benefit from larger property lots, more shared open space (like parks and trail systems), and a larger concentration of single-family homes.

Should You Consider Rural Living?

If the wide-open countryside appeals to you and you don’t mind sacrificing amenities, rural living might be the perfect fit for your lifestyle. The biggest advantages of buying a home in a rural area include larger lots, lower property prices, and a lower cost of living overall.

Of course, while rural living calls to mind quiet evenings gazing at the stars, it’s not all so picture-perfect. Before you move to a rural area, consider the following:

  • Commuting: Rural living is becoming increasingly more suitable for those who work or attend school remotely. If you plan to work or go to school outside of the home, you need to factor in your commute, along with the limited number of jobs available in rural areas.
  • Amenities: If you like to go out to eat or, better yet, have your dinner come to you, you have to take notice of the amenities that you’ll be missing out on by living in a rural area. Most have limited restaurants and shopping, and tend to lack services like DoorDash and Instacart. Consider the real impact of these facts on your lifestyle.
  • Cost of Living: While the cost of property and utilities tends to be lower in rural areas, this is offset by average earnings. If you intend to work locally, look ahead and consider how much of a pay cut you’ll be taking. Additionally, consider the fuel costs and inconvenience associated with commuting and traveling for amenities.
  • Location: Some rural areas are just 60–90 minutes away from mid-size airports, large medical centers, and shopping districts. Others are many hours away from these necessities. While you might not travel or shop often, think about how far you have to go when you do need these things — especially when it comes to medical emergencies.
  • Special Financing: Mortgage programs, such as the USDA home loan, are exclusively available in rural and developing areas. The best thing about these loans is that they are government-backed, so it’s easier to get approved. Also, they require no down payment, so you can purchase a home without putting thousands of dollars on the table.

Still up for moving to a rural area? You’ll probably be able to stretch your housing budget much further, allowing you to buy a bigger home or more land.

Suburban vs. Urban Living

If you decide that rural living is just too inconvenient for your tastes, you’ll have no shortage of options on the market. The question is, what’s better suited: suburban vs. urban real estate?

For most people, suburban living represents a happy medium between the lack of amenities in rural locations and the overcrowded city streets. With that said, the suburbs around large urban areas like Los Angeles and Denver continue expanding onward and outward. So, what’s currently a suburb may begin to bleed into the urban area over the next 10–20 years.

Meanwhile, those interested in living in an urban area often choose to do so because of the centrality. There’s no doubt that urban residents get to enjoy new services and products before anyone else. There’s also no shortage of shopping, dining, healthcare campuses, or educational institutions. Likewise, with plenty of job opportunities in almost every industry, urban areas can offer something for everyone, especially if you like being on the go.

If you’re comparing suburban and urban real estate, here are some key considerations:

  • Housing Types: There are more apartments and condos available in urban areas, whereas suburban areas will have more townhomes, duplexes, and single-family homes. Think about whether or not you plan to expand your family with pets or children or both before you decide what’s worth the investment.
  • Cost of Living: Urban areas tend to have the most expensive property sales prices, taxes, and utility rates. This means the cost of living is higher in urban areas, but you’re paying for the amenities. You need to determine if the increased cost is within your budget and worth the money.
  • Population Density: Population density is much higher in urban areas, but what does that mean for your lifestyle? If you have to commute to work or school, you’ll be impacted by this daily. Even when you’re trying to enjoy a day off at a local attraction, park, or event, urban areas will always mean larger crowds.
  • Arts and Entertainment: Urban areas have many more opportunities to attend concerts and events; interact with the arts; and get immersed in new experiences, including pop-ups hosted by major brands. If you love getting out and experiencing new things, urban living will put you in the center of it all. Meanwhile, the suburbs tend to be more relaxed, and if you’re okay with traveling closer to the city for entertainment, it’s a fine trade-off.

The suburbs tend to have plenty of shopping and dining for the average person, but urban areas are better suited for those who love to go out often and be the first to experience new things. Truly, choosing between suburban vs. urban real estate comes down to your preferred lifestyle and your budget. If you take the time to think it through, you won’t go wrong.

Which Area Is Right for You?

Many people love the suburbs because they’re within driving distance to entertainment and other perks, but they don’t have to pay the price. Meanwhile, urban areas attract those who are willing to pay extra to be right in the middle of it. So, when it comes to suburban vs. urban living, you need to evaluate your current lifestyle and how you’d like to live in the years to come.

No matter where you end up, what matters most is that you take the steps to get a great deal. Finding the right mortgage program and shopping around for the right rates takes time, but it’s worth the savings. So, let the top-tier loan experts at LemonBrew Lending compile the best offers for you! Ready to see how much you could borrow? Get started today.