Many of the major cities in Canada offer two very different types of living situations to renters — living in the suburbs or inner-city living. Sprawl has taken hold in some Canadian cities, and suburbs stretch from what was once a city’s edge to new communities being built to accommodate more and more buyers and renters.
Renters are faced with a choice — live in close proximity to the city center or pick a place in the ‘burbs. Both are valid choices for very different reasons. Lifestyle is unique in both the inner city and the suburbs, and price point comes into play too. How do you choose? You need to evaluate what you are looking for in a home and community before signing the lease.
There are pros and cons to both big city living and having a place in suburbia. Let’s take a look at the options and weigh out the possibilities:
• The suburbs offer larger apartments and homes for rent and sale at lower prices. Also, if you’re renting a townhouse or single family home you are more likely to have a bigger outdoor space in the suburbs.
• Many suburbs also include a community center, clubhouse, or even private lake geared towards family outdoor activities. These kinds of amenities are particularly attractive to both young couples thinking of having children and mature families alike.
• Some developers are trying to veer away from the cookie-cutter stigmatism associated with many suburbs. If developers of new areas are more mindful of creating suburban communities that retain some of the culture and amenities of inner city neighbourhoods, living further from the city core may become even more attractive.
• Price points are often lower in the suburbs for apartments, townhomes, and single-family homes. In the suburbs, you will probably be able to get more square footage for your dollar.
• The biggest con of suburban living, for most, is the excessive daily commute. Developers have tacked on community after community in some of the major Canadian cities without truly thinking about whether existing infrastructure can support the extra traffic.
• A lack of culture and activity is also a bone of contention for many when discussing suburban living. Many people want to be in the middle of cultural activity, and suburbs do not generally offer them that. Inner city communities boast a lot more variety in terms of dining, entertainment, and the arts. If your lifestyle revolves around trendy eateries or live theater, you’ll find yourself out of luck in most suburbs.
Big City Living:
• One of the biggest pros of living in the inner city is being in close proximity to everything a city has to offer. You’ll be right in the middle of theater, art, entertainment, and incredible dining options. You’ll probably live within walking distance to great restaurants and nightlife.
• Short commutes are another huge draw for those who live close to downtown. When you live close to work, you save hours each week that would otherwise be spent on a long and arduous commute. With an apartment in the inner city, you will probably have quick access to a short transit ride or you might even be able to walk or bike to work.
• Choice of apartment will definitely come into play for those who live in the big city. While apartments might not stay on the rental market for as long when they are located in the inner city, you’ll probably have more options simply because there are more apartment and condo buildings to choose from.
• The biggest con of living in the big city is probably expense. You will get less bang for your buck than those living in the suburbs. Space is at a premium in the inner city, and you’ll have to pay more per square foot.
• The lifestyle might not be best suited to young families. Depending on where you live in the big city, there might not be nearby parks for young ones to play in or convenient grocery stores to pop into for a loaf of bread. Also, because you will probably live in close proximity to restaurants and nightlife, you might find your inner city street too loud for little ones.