Priced Out Of The City? Consider Suburban Living

May 6, 2017 - 5 min read

Suburban Home Affordability Comes With Other Benefits

You’re ready to buy a home, finally, and you started house hunting in the city. But you quickly noticed home affordability plummeting. That’s true for both Millennials and Gen Xers wanting to stop renting but remain urban dwellers.

You’re not only out-priced; you’re outflanked by investors and Boomers buying up urban housing inventory. Both are bidding up real estate faster than you can say “let’s make an offer.”

For the city-loving younger set, that’s meant making different choices, like moving to suburbia. For the first time in a decade, suburban growth accelerated last year and is outpacing city growth.

Verify your new rate

There Are Benefits to Suburban Living

Lower home prices are only one of the few benefits of living in suburbia. If you choose the right suburb, you’ll find more than home affordability. There are trade-offs, of course, like limited public transit.

But, many suburbs have become more urban and much friendlier in other ways for the modern family with urbanized sensibilities. Most offer the communal spaces that GenX prefers, even at work and bike lanes for Millennials.

Affordability is key for both Generation X and Millennials since both are on the hunt for homes. These factors can ease the transition for city lovers of both generations.

In fact, you can live the city life with better amenities and more affordably if you move to many suburbs. Here are six ways you benefit by making that move.

More Housing Options

No, you’re not stuck living in a cookie cutter cul-de-sac. Suburbs, especially around large metro areas, offer a variety of housing options. Choose among condos, townhomes or smaller houses with yards.

You can buy a zero lot McMansion, or one with wooded back lots and no plan for developing that space. You can buy in a newer, planned community without identical houses and high HOA dues.

That means you can budget better for housing and stay in communities longer term by moving up when you’re ready. The multiple housing options coupled with the numerous mortgage options available in today’s mortgage market can make choosing suburbia even easier.

Cultural Fit And Diversity

Many suburbs are embracing philosophies like “walkability” in communities outside cities. These forward-thinking neighborhoods try to make walking easier than driving everywhere.

Home affordability, sustainability, and open spaces are important in these suburbs, too. Residents see them as a quality of life issues.

Most walkable cities provide more cultural events and family-friendly activities, while embracing different ethnicities, religions, and family types. They’re structured to encourage the community socializing.

In these suburbs, stores, schools, personal services, theaters, museums, restaurants and other city-like amenities are near homes. Your family and friends can have those summer backyard barbecues while neighborhood kids romp on play structure or in pools.

Then, you can walk down to the community’s theater or get ice cream at a local shop without driving anywhere.

Since this has become a movement, you’re more likely to find more suburbs to move where it’s common. However, if you live in suburbia, you’re more likely to be nearer to outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, nature walks, and fishing.

So, you can have the best of both worlds.

More Elbow Room

Moving to suburbia, means more home at less cost per square foot. That’s true in condos, townhomes and single family homes. Again, because you have many housing options in the suburbs, you’re more likely to find the space you need within your budget. In some places, you can expand your home if your space needs change.

It’s not just more space inside your home that counts, but outside as well, if you move to a less developed or crowded suburb. You’ll have more lot size and location choices in suburbia. That can come with additional privacy and more nature for you and your family to enjoy.

You might even have space for outbuildings like large sheds or garages with extra space for hobbies and storage.

Safer And Quieter

The hustle bustle of city life often comes at a cost—more noise and crime. You’ll find less of both in the suburbs. One is peace of mind.

Expect your neighbors to be invested in the community, as most homebuyers are. They are likely to want what you do and work to make sure their communities are safer and calmer.

Because insurance rates are based on risk, suburban living can mean lower insurance costs. There is less vandalism, theft and violent crime in the suburbs than cities, meaning you may get lower overall insurance quotes across the board.

Less auto theft and fewer car accidents means lower auto insurance for the best suburban drivers.

Insuring lower risks transfer to stores, offices and other amenities. That often leads to lower costs for suburban dwellers on goods and services.

Cheaper Family Care

By moving a young family to many suburbs, you can save an average of $9,000 a year on daycare and after-school care costs for your kids.

Care options for other family members might be cheaper, too, which is important for “Sandwich Generation” GenXers.

Suburbia can offer more alternatives to using daycare, eldercare or aftercare centers. In community-oriented suburbs, it might be easier than in the city to find them. In part, that’s because caring the population is less transient.

Home affordability means most people with children will be homeowners. That means your family care providers will be around longer than in most cities, and home-based care is more readily available with them.

You can start family care bartering services or co-ops with others in your own neighborhoods. Neighborhood teens are another cost-effective option for babysitting. If you have the space in your home, which is more likely in these suburbs, live-in care for family members is an option.

More space also means options for elder family members or others with physical or mental challenges who need more care. You can keep both at home where you have more control over their care.

Look for employers near suburbs who offer family care options and benefits, too.

Better Schools

Suburban homes generate more property taxes so most suburbs offer better schools for your children. Graduation rates are higher and college attendance is more likely. Since residents have more voice in government in the suburbs, you can help create unique school programs for kids.

That enhances educational satisfaction, inclusiveness for kids with unique needs and better life choices for your kids. Many of those schools offer aftercare and extra-curricular activities that increase intellectual growth and provide advanced learning possibilities.

Moreover, many suburbs are also college and university towns. By choosing one of those, you have access to cultural activities and resources common to colleges and university. That also means more jobs for academics and others who want to work in a higher educational environment.

Those institutions may create unique family housing options or increased inventory nearby, too, increasing home affordability.

More House, Same Mortgage Options

In the long run, a suburban home can be cheaper. More affordability and lower insurance costs can mean lower mortgage costs, especially if you shop around. Keep in mind, however, that if your daily commute increases substantially by moving out of town, you’ll want to consider the added cost when running the numbers.

What Are Today’s Mortgage Rates?

Today’s mortgage rates are still highly favorable for those who want to buy homes. However, housing prices are on the move, and homes are also getting pricier. If you can’t afford the city digs you want, it may pay to buy something caper now and trade up when you have the income or savings to support a more expensive house.

Time to make a move? Let us find the right mortgage for you

Dahna Chandler
Authored By: Dahna Chandler
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Dahna Chandler is an award-winning business and finance journalist with 20 years of experience writing for major media outlets and top blogs. She is passionate about helping wealth-minded people thrive financially by reaching their wealth objectives.