Suburban vs. Urban Living: The Pros and Cons
The age old question remains when a move is on the horizon… What area of the city should I buy in? The downtown area, a bit further out in the inner city, or perhaps a suburban location would be best?
Suburban communities have a lot to like in comparison to an inner city or downtown residence. Houses are typically larger and cost less. Some would even say the quality of life is better in terms of family orientation and more living space, among other hard to deny attributes.
On the other hand, some would argue the inner city and downtown are the best places to live in. While properties are more costly, the money saved from having to commute from a suburban neighbourhood to downtown and back again is well worth it for those who frequent area, not to mention the full spectrum of amenities and walkable lifestyle that goes hand-in-hand with the location.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide where you want to live. Some people might be set on a location in Calgary for a variety of reasons, while others could still be on the fence. If you are still undecided, check out our pros and cons to suburban and urban living in Calgary below:
Suburban Living in Calgary
Living in a suburban typically offers a serene and peaceful living experience. These neighbourhoods can be an ultimate refuge after a busy day in the downtown area and as an escape from the urban white noise of any city centre and its jam-packed streets.
Commuting times. If you are going to be frequently communing to the inner city and downtown area, be prepared to spend lots of time driving to and from your community. Calgary’s rapidly growing population is also making traffic a bit more staggering than it has been in the past.
Main city routes in Calgary, like Deerfoot Trail and Crowchild Trail, for example, start backing up between 7:15am and 7:45am and stay busy for an hour or more. You could always plan to wake up early and get on the road before this starts to happen, however.
There is typically more living space and larger properties suburbia. The backyard has more than enough space for the kid’s trampoline and that home-grown garden you’ve always wanted, well, there’s room for that too!
Most of the best that Calgary has to offer is found in the inner city and downtown areas when it comes to dining, entertainment and activities. Living in a suburban community might make you feel somewhat isolated from where all the action is, especially if you don’t have a drivers license or vehicle to use.
A trip to the inner city or downtown after already being there earlier in the day might feel like an excursion that requires time, effort and energy.
Suburban homes in Calgary are usually more affordable in comparison to a similar property in the inner city and cost less on a per square foot basis, giving you more space for your coin.
It could be the difference between getting those much wanted work out and office rooms you’ve always wanted and a third bedroom for your family to grow into – or not.
Transportation costs time. Longer commuting times from suburbia means more cash spent on fuel, automobile repairs and service, while the lost time between home and “destination A” could be spent doing more productive things.
Having to travel 45 to 60 minutes one way home from work could very well mean less time spent with your family, or less time spent at work to meet deadlines because of responsibilities that you have to be home for at a certain time afterwards.
Suburban communities, like Auburn Bay for example, are newer construction than most of the homes found in the inner city and downtown areas (except for new infill and multi-family developments).
Assuming that a home is built well without flaws, there should be relatively less home maintenance and costs associated with such over the next decade in comparison to older construction in the inner city.
There can be a “waiting” factor involved when buying in a suburban community. If the area is new, or there are mass construction projects in the area, it could take months, even years for them to be completed.
Check out our Buying a New Calgary Home – Pros and Cons for more considerations for buying suburban properties.
Urban Living in Calgary
Calgary’s inner city and downtown areas are where you will find most of the best shopping, entertainment and dining in Calgary. These areas are also the most culturally rich and vibrant, making it hard to deny just how convenient and exciting it can be when living in the region.
Urban dwellers have ample access to a full range of amenities and services close to home, sometimes even within walking distance. This includes annual festivals and celebrations of all sorts!
Urban white noise is always a drag when you desire a relatively quiet and peaceful setting to live in. If you are the type who prefers to be away from people, nightlife and traffic, then you should definitely consider a suburban or rural location.
Urban communities have more mature vegetation, creating natural beauty and in some instances providing additional privacy for home owners.
Many inner city neighbourhoods also have very active community centres, which isn’t always the case when it comes to suburbia.
Urban areas typically have fewer open park spaces for children to play in outside areas, although Calgary is renowned for its large amount of green spaces which includes the inner city but not so much downtown.
If you happen to work in or near the city centre, living close by means you could possibly walk to and from work or use public transit and leave the car at home.
You’ll save on expenses such as parking, gas and other costs associated with using a motor vehicle. You’ll also have more time spent for the more important things in life instead of waiting in traffic.
Inner city homes cost more on a per square foot basis compared to their suburban counterparts.
The living space you would get for the same amount of money in an inner city or downtown location will almost always be less than that in a suburban area when comparing two similar properties with similar features.
Inner city and downtown residents have the absolute best access to public transportation. Getting around Calgary is easier as buses have more frequent stops and run longer than suburban routes.
Living spaces can sometimes feel a bit congested in the inner city and downtown. There’s less space for your backyard trampoline, garden and shed, and there might be more neighbour windows in viewing range of your home than in a suburban area.
There’s also the question of above-ground power lines that may be an issue for you if you’re concerned about such close exposure to electromagnetic radiation. This is a growing concern in this day and age for many people as they grow ever-increasingly aware of their health and how the environment can affect it.
Questions about Calgary Real Estate?
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