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Are the suburbs really less expensive?

August 18 2016 by Denis Doucet
What you'll learn
  • Are the suburbs really less expensive?
  • Investing in a plex to reimburse your mortgage
  • Following your heart
  • Living in the country

Buying a house is clearly one of the biggest decisions in your life. Some people already know where they want to live. For others, they need to take the time to determine whether they want to live in the city or suburbs. Each location has its pros and cons. We’ve put together some criteria that you should consider before making your decision.

Think budget first

Properties located in big cities are oftentimes more expensive than homes in the suburbs. Municipal taxes are also higher in town. For these two reasons, many people look to move outside the city. It’s important to note that public transport and car sharing (subway, bus, Communauto, etc.) cost about the same whether you live in the city or not. Also, you need to consider the monthly payments if you purchase a vehicle as well as gas, maintenance, tires and insurance. We estimate that owning a car costs, on average, $10 000 for 20 000 km, which is the equivalent of a year of mortgage payments for a $160 000 home home (based on a five-year term at 3.9% and a 25-year amortization. With this example, if you can live without a car and your home costs $460 000 in town, instead of $300 000 in the suburbs, your budget would be almost the same.

In order to generate extra revenue to pay off their mortgages, some people opt to buy a plex, or an income-generating property with multiple units. You must be a manager at heart when commit to renting out property; whether you buy a duplex or multiplex, you not only accept to live with renters but also respond to all of their requests: broken toilet, lights that don’t work, etc. You also have to consistently follow up on late payers that don’t get their rent in on time—all while remaining polite and courteous.

A better quality of life

People who chose to live in the suburbs often do so to have a better quality of life: spacious back yards, purer air, calm environment, parking in the street, etc. However, a bigger property means more upkeep!
On the flip side, people prefer living in the city because of the proximity of services, cute alleys, diversified cultural experiences, the ability to rent a bike at low cost, and the abundance of restaurants and cafés. Choosing between the city or the suburbs is a personal decision, based on your tastes, needs and aspirations.

Travelling to and from work every day can also impact the quality of your life and tilt the scale one way or the other. In some cases, shortening your commute can be achieved by getting a job closer to your house or working from home a part of the time. These two solutions can dramatically reduce the time you spend in traffic.

And why not the countryside?

Today, technology can enable many employees to work from home, which paves the way for living in the country. It’s a great opportunity to change your lifestyle and slow down; becoming a freelancer is now a more accessible option than ever before. For others, living in the country is a dream when they retire!

Key takeaways
  • Without a car, you can save a lot of money if you live in the city.
  • People choose to live in the suburbs for a calmer environment and wide open spaces. Others prefer the city for its effervescence.  
  • Technology enables many people to live a little farther from work.
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