Buying your ﬁrst home brings major lifestyle changes – sometimes even a dramatic change in scenery. That’s because homeownership involves taking an honest look at your lifestyle, priorities and goals, and then investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in that vision. One of the ﬁrst things to consider: should you buy where you rent, or house-hunt farther aﬁeld?
What’s right for you – the city, burbs or country?
There’s a reason why urban real estate comes with a price premium: excellent public transit, plenty of arts and cultural attractions, lots of dining options, and easy access to everything from medical services to gyms and green space. Steady demand translates into a real estate investment that will grow as you build equity in your property.
- Car-free living is a breeze (car share services are everywhere, so there’s no need to stress whenever you do require wheels)
- Greater employment opportunities
- Shorter commute to work and play
- Less home for the same price compared with suburbs and rural areas
- Condos may be the only affordable option if you want to live right in the city core
- Less privacy, thanks to closer quarters and higher population density
Is it any wonder that generations of parents have flocked to the burbs to raise their families? It’s here that the much-desired single-family detached house rules, with big backyards (picket fence optional), good schools and a higher proportion of households with kids – perfect for impromptu street hockey or tag. While new communities may be low on shops and services, it only takes a few years of growth before cafés and sushi are just a short drive away!
- Lower housing costs mean you get more home for your real estate dollar
- Daycare costs are often lower than in the city
- Quieter than the city, yet less remote than rural areas
- Longer commute and higher commuting costs (gas, parking, commuter trains and so on)
- Some newer suburbs may not be as walkable compared with the city
- Fewer entertainment, dining and grocery options nearby, aside from big-box chains
Fresh, clean air, room to roam, no one to bug you about your bonfire or backyard hens – what could be better, right? Rural living has always appealed to self-reliant types, and in recent years it’s gotten a boost from millennials seeking a more affordable and lower-stress lifestyle (although overall, more people are leaving the country for the city). If you work from home, you can skip the commute and spend the extra time relaxing – or picking up a back-to-the-earth side gig to supplement your income.
- Lower housing costs and more outdoor space for kids, pets and gardens
- Easy access to recreational forests and lakes
- Better air quality
- More susceptible to extreme weather: potential to be snowed in; power outages can be more frequent and last longer
- Longer commutes to work, errands, entertainment and medical appointments
- Harder to make friends in a small, tight-knit community (TIP: Make it easier by joining a volunteer committee!)