As exciting as relocating to a new city may sound, pinpointing exactly where in that city you’ll be living is not the easiest decision. It is natural to be attracted to the idea of living downtown, in the center of the city, close to all the stores, coffee shops, and work. But unfortunately, that isn’t always the most viable option.

High housing prices, noise, tiny yards- or no yards at all- and just an overall fast-paced lifestyle might not always be the most appealing alternative. For this reason, suburbs have been seeing an increase in population in the last years. However, it is important to note that we all want different things, and what may seem like a chaotic area for some to live in, for others they are like a dream come true.

How to Choose the Best Neighborhood When Moving to a New City

Most Important Factors to Consider

So, what should you take into consideration when making the decision to move? Below are a few of the most important factors to consider when choosing to live in a city or the suburbs.

Commute time

Whether it’s to get some extra minutes of sleep or if you just don’t like driving that much, a short commute time to and from work can make a difference when choosing where to move to. While living downtown would eliminate the hassle of commuting during rush hours, housing prices might not make it worth it. So, the alternative often lies in the suburbs. With their proximity to the metro lines, you could benefit from a rather short commute time while saving some money on housing- which brings us to the next big thing on our list.

Housing prices

Regardless of how much money one makes, the ideal is not spending more than 30% of the monthly income on housing. Since the demand is high and supply low in the urban centers, prices tend to be higher for both rent and sale properties.

It is for this reason that suburbs and neighborhoods located further from downtown can often provide people with the option of affording a decent sized home, for a much lower price than if they were to be living in the city center. In fact, for the price one would spend on rent for an apartment downtown, in the suburbs they could often afford an apartment with an extra bedroom. This takes us to the next important thing to consider, the home size.

Type of property (apartment or house)

Depending on how big a household is, whether a single person, or a family of four, there is a difference in the type and size of a home they require. While urban areas can easily accommodate one person or a couple, with the many apartment buildings available, the limited space and higher prices do not offer the best alternative for a family with children. However, within a rather small distance of the downtown area, one can easily find a home that is not only larger, but at a more affordable price. Suburbs are known to offer more single-family houses or even larger apartments. Also, that area is likely to be less chaotic and noisy than the urban center, and more abundant in amenities meant to accommodate the needs of families.

Children (education, family friendly areas, safety)

Once children are involved, everything changes. Not only is there a need for a larger home, but the environment surrounding that home is highly important. It is significant for that area to be considered safe, with a low crime rate and with a good protection system in place. Also, amenities including parks and nearby supermarkets and malls become essential. Parents need access to outdoor activities for their children and the possibility to efficiently complete grocery shopping or any other shopping errands they may have- be it Christmas, birthday or last minute.

Furthermore, being close to a good school district allow for families to determine how close they need to be to a certain school. It is important to know whether the children will require school bus transportation or if the parents will be taking their kids to school.

Social culture

Finally, social life is an important aspect that many find essential when moving to a city. Whether it’s being within walking distance of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, movie theaters, and high-end fashion stores, or just living in an area close to other friends, people often make decisions that pulls them closer to one area rather than the other.

When considering social life, it is important to keep in mind that the definition of this term varies from individual to individual, and there is also the aspect of how much time does one want to invest in social life. For some, living downtown is a must, while others can easily acclimate to living in the suburbs or remote neighborhoods and still having access to social activities every now and then.

Overall, when moving to a city, it’s essential to do your research. Being as familiar with the area will not only help you when moving there, but it will help you determine ahead of time if it is the right place for you. There are many things that come into play when moving, and for each of us, some are of more importance than others. While these are some general tips to help as you are looking into your next home destination, make sure you consider the specific aspects that matter most to you!