There is no clear answer that applies to everyone when determining housing and location preferences. As always, the best answer to the question of should I rent or buy a home in a suburb or the city is “it depends.” There are many aspects to take into account—from career prospects and financial situations to which amenities best fit your lifestyle.
So, here are some considerations that may help you decide whether you should live in the suburbs or in the core of the city:
1. Location, Transportation & Money
Renting in a large city like Pittsburgh means you’ll be paying a premium for the location. To make up the difference, people usually choose smaller apartments to be close to their workplace, college, or other points of interest. However, if you don’t mind the commute, the suburbs often offer more affordable prices for larger spaces, so you could find a real bargain.
When you’re trying to decide, research the surroundings and transportation options in your prospective areas. Plenty of suburbs are well-connected to their urban areas through public transit; try to estimate how much money it would cost you per month and see if it’s worth paying that as opposed to a location premium. If you have a car, it will cost money as well, so balance the costs and decide which is the best option.
2. Career, Lifestyle & Amenities
Your lifestyle will dictate your needs. If you’re a remote worker, chances are that you’ll do great in a suburb where prices are lower because you don’t have to move around a lot. Or, if you work in the city, perhaps it’s more enticing to get to and from work fast. Similarly, if your career plan involves networking, meetings, and being available fast, consider investing in location.
Of course, these factors are influenced by your preferences and needs. If you enjoy being active—socially and physically—and participating in various events, then it makes sense to be in the middle of the action. However, if you’re not much of a social butterfly and you enjoy your solitude, then the suburbs will cater to your specific needs.
The difference in amenities is also something to consider. In urban areas, there is an abundance of things to do, whereas transitioning to a suburban area means fewer options for entertainment. Think about whether you are attached to the urban lifestyle, and then consider what the switch would mean for you. Depending on your age, you might find the peaceful amenities that a suburb offers very appealing.
3. The Future
The big question is around your plans for the future. If you’re at the point in life where you’re considering starting a family, it might be time to trade in the prime location for more space and a financial edge. However, if you’re laser-focused on your career and want to invest time and energy into creating a social and professional network, then it might be tough to spend all that time commuting to and from every day. In this case, being within close proximity of key points in the city is important.
Renting can allow you to experience both the suburbs and the city so you can finally decide where you want to settle down. Start by making a list of priorities. Be honest about your routines and your needs and start budgeting to see if your income covers your lifestyle. However, don’t consume yourself with this decision. There are advantages to both the urban and the suburban space. No move is permanent, so keep an open mind and enjoy your choices.
About the author: Mihaela is a passionate reader and writer with an affinity for language and linguistics, as well as the latest technological developments. She discovered her passion for real estate at RENTCafé, and you can read more of her articles on their blog.