We all know people who can’t imagine themselves living anywhere they can’t jump in the lift and step out on the pavement before the short walk to buy their coffee. And they probably know people who cannot imagine not being able to kick a ball around the back yard.
It has been a long time since Eva Gabor exclaimed ‘Goodbye city life’ (in an American sitcom of the late sixties) and left her beloved New York City for Green Acres, a place well beyond the suburbs, but the past year has led some to take a second look at ‘the ‘burbs’.
Real estate agents have been right there with the buyers and sellers as they made their moves – and sometimes questioned their relocation.
Homeowners have opened up about their reasons for moving with: ‘I am tired of looking at this home and need a change.’ ‘I am so over this location with its people and traffic congestion.’ ‘I don’t need to be near so many shops.’ ‘I’m spending too much time indoors.’
Here are a few of the more commonly perceived benefits of living in the suburbs.
I have so much more space.
If having a yard to play in with kids and pets is on the wish list, a house in the suburbs is more likely to deliver – along with the possibility of your own swimming pool, a grassed area to spill out on and somewhere to park the caravan or boat. And if gardening is your passion, just head to the local nursery!
I am buying more for my dollars.
This is often the case in terms of the size of the home and block of land but should not be taken for granted. Take a three-plus bedroom CBD apartment and compare with a similar size home outside the city centre and it will vary greatly depending on which suburb you look at and how much land you are buying; and similarly when comparing a city cottage or terrace house with a suburban property. If it’s not ‘apples with apples’ then it is difficult to generalise.
I am closer to nature.
The outer suburbs are often where you find more expanses of parklands and playing fields, and bike and walking paths. Getting out on day trips to mountains or the beach can sometimes be quicker too. Being outdoors is more conducive to physical exercise too.
I love being part of the community.
Whether you take up residence in a new suburb with a shopping centre at its heart or an older suburb with strip shopping, such places bring a community together. It’s a fact that people stop and chat more on the street than they do in lifts!
I feel it is safer.
Many believe that major cities have higher property crime rates, household burglaries, theft, etc. compared to surrounding suburban areas. A safe neighbourhood is a priority for many homebuyers.
I like that my kids can play with their schoolmates.
Getting together before or after school in a backyard or local park is something seen more often in the suburbs, and suburbs with good state or private schools that children can safely walk to are highly sought.
Are there perceived downsides for people coming from the city?
While there has been a greater acceptance of people working from home, some tell of dropping to a less corporate role in order to live and work from an outer city suburb.
The large block may require a great deal more maintenance and upkeep, which comes at a cost of time and/or money. A house may need more maintenance than the apartment too.
Moving out of the city doesn’t mean you will never need to go there. Is there good public transport from suburb to city? Some city-to-suburb buyers realise they need a car!
If you would like to say ‘goodbye city life’, there are homes and neighbourhoods in the suburbs beckoning. Research well before you make your move, whether you are selling or buying.
On the other hand, don’t underestimate inner city living for affordability, public transport, city amenities and facilities, lifestyle, less time spent on home duties, more ‘me’ time, for instance.