06 February 2017 4 min read

Should you buy your first home in the city or suburbs? There are some important factors that first-home buyers should think about.

One of the first questions any aspiring home buyer asks themselves is where to buy: city or suburbs? Of course the answer will depend a lot on how much money you have to spend, but it’s not solely about that. You need to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in an area and home, not just now but in the future, what your deal-breakers are and where you can compromise.

So, to help make this decision easier and get you one step closer to realising your bricks-and-mortar dream, we’ve put together a list of the good, the bad and the reality of both.

The size of the matter
If you’ve been enjoying the bright lights of the city as a renter, then it makes sense that you might want to start your property search here. And this could be achievable - if you’re prepared to compromise on space. It goes without saying that you pay a premium for bigger homes in a city, so if size doesn’t matter to you, look cityside. However, if you dream of your first house having a backyard where you can spend time with friends and family around a barbecue, extra rooms to accommodate a growing family, and more storage, then it might be time to cast your eyes towards the suburbs. You’ll be amazed at how much more you can get for your money, particularly in new residential villages.

If you like being close to the action
Can’t get enough of the bright lights and buzz of a city? Well you might struggle to adapt to a more relaxed suburban lifestyle. However, if your search starts hitting a brick wall, it might be worth looking further afield. You’d be surprised what cafes and restaurants might be available to you outside your comfort zone, especially as the need for suburban amenities is growing with the trend for people to move out of the cities in search of a better lifestyle.

City ties
If you’ve been living in a city for some time and have built up a big support network, then you may feel loathe to move away to a suburb. Again it goes back to how important it is to you. Is remaining near friends in a city a deal-breaker for you or are you prepared to compromise in order to get a larger home? Be aware that other friends will face this dilemma, and they’re unlikely to all remain in one place permanently. Also moving to a larger house outside will mean more rooms for friends and family to come and stay.

History lovers and culture vultures
If you love an area steeped in history, with atmospheric winding streets, old buildings and plentiful art galleries and museums, then of course you may find yourself feeling a bit lost if you move away from the city. However, if you’re struggling to find a place in the centre that’s big enough for you, don’t overlook newer suburbs, for what they lack in history they might more than make up for in transport links. Check to see if you could find the best of both worlds: the bigger suburban place and quick links back to your favourite city haunts.

Getting to work and home again
If being close to your work is vital to you, than suburban living is unlikely to be your best bet. This is particularly true of those who don’t want to give up walking or cycling to the office. However, many new suburbs offer surprisingly good transport links, so it’s worth examining what’s on offer if you’re not getting anywhere with your city property search.

Competition for homes in the city
People who decide that city living is for them must bear in mind that they’ll need to be tough when it comes to buying a place. There’s a lot of competition, so they’ll need to sharpen their elbows, be very organised and get prepared to compete with many others for their dream home.

Being open to exploring new areas will give you a far greater choice and could mean your house-owning dream comes true far quicker than you thought possible

Family matters and outdoor living
For people considering expanding their family, suburban living beats the city hands down. Think homes with more rooms, more storage, safer neighbourhoods and bigger backyards. Check out what’s on offer in newer suburbs, as they’ll often offer amenities such as brand new schools and childcare options. They also give residents ample opportunity to build close bonds with other families who are at a similar life stage. Suburbs will also invariably offer bigger backyards to kick a ball with the kids, make space for a pet, grow a veggie patch, or simply breathe in the fresh air.

The joys of new build villages
Property developers who’ve masterminded new villages put a huge amount of thought into making their communities wonderful places to live. Think community centres, shopping malls, recreational parks, schools, childcare centres and family events such as an outdoor movie nights, kids’ barbecues and group fitness sessions.

The pros of choosing a brand new home in a new village are numerous. Aside from the actual house - which offers lower energy bills, brand new appliances, fixtures and fittings so less maintenance costs and the chance to create a totally personalised home - the village will have a large range of plot sizes and designs. This means that though your first home may be on a smaller plot, as your family and finances grow, you are able to upgrade to a larger plot without having to move out of an area that you’ve made your own. On top of this, people who live in newer residential suburbs have a “higher level of wellbeing than the national average” according to research by Stockland. And you can see why.

So, suburbs or city? Our best advice is to keep an open mind. Being open to exploring new areas will give you a far greater choice and could mean your house-owning dream comes true far quicker than you thought possible.

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