The quintessential “American dream” home is a large house with a white picket fence nestled in the bosom of suburbia. However, other people may have a different ideal which consists of flashing lights and constant activity that can only be found in the big city.
If you’re confused about which one to pick, use this helpful guide that weighs cities and suburbs against each other using the five criteria most important to homebuyers – safety, schools, space, culture, and convenience.
The biggest flaw that cities have is crime. This concern only rises the larger the city becomes. If you’re thinking of starting a family and you don’t make a bit more money than average, it’s almost always in your best interest to move into your city.
If you have enough income to move to one of the richer parts of a city, then you may not need to worry about the crime as much. Be aware that you’ll always get more safety for the value in the suburbs however.
Suburbs typically have better educational institutions for the average student. Smaller class sizes combined with less crime causes standardized test scores to rise and student incidents to plummet. However, certain city school districts may have hyper-specialized schools that cater to gifted children. You can generally discern the quality of the local schools by the unemployment rate and average home value of the homes in that district.
Space is a premium in the city. It’s not uncommon to pay a similar amount for an apartment in the city as you would for a full size house in the suburbs. If you value raw square footage over everything else, the suburbs are your best bet.
If you’re after culture, then choose the city whenever possible. Suburbs tend to be insular. This fosters a sense of community, but they can also end up being pretty one-note. In the city, you’ll be exposed to many different cultures and have a front row seat to any festivities.
Unless you’re lucky enough to work from home, commute times are a serious concern when moving. Traffic may be an issue in the city, but that’s usually where the jobs are located. If you live in the suburbs, you’ll have to brave that traffic anyway on top of the commute from your more remote home. There are also some cities where you may be able to go without a car entirely such as New York.
Remember that these are only generalizations. Not all cities are unsafe and not all suburbs have good schools. It’s imperative that you tell us your concerns so we can tell you the specifics of your situation!