Lifestyle

Where Should You Buy a Home in South Africa: City or Suburb?

Are you ready to buy a home in South Africa?

Chances are that you’re now caught in the age-old dilemma of having to choose to buy in the city or opt to buy in the suburbs!

There have been a number of studies done on how Millennials prefer to hang around in the city where the ‘hustle & bustle‘ is.

The younger generations don’t see ‘walkability‘ as just as another catchword, but actually a life goal!

And we all know that the closer your residence is to local convenience stores and ‘big brands’ (such as Starbucks or Mugg & Bean), the higher the value of a city residence will be.

Let’s keep in mind that, depending on the physical location (i.e. Sandton, Fourways, Camps Bay etc), Millennials will obviously still regard pricing an important factor whether to buy in the city or move to the suburbs.

As much as young home buyers would like to buy in the city, conventional wisdom indicates that they will primarily be driven by affordability issues.

As recent data inform us, more and more up and coming newer suburbs are calling out to these younger home buyers.

Of course, notwithstanding affordability, there will always be those who don’t even think of leaving the city for the suburbs.

Having said the above, how do you know where to buy: city or suburb?

And how much different is it to actually be buying a home in the suburbs vs. the city?

Here are 6 key elements to consider in making that decision where to buy a home in South Africa:

#1 – Location: are you close to what you need?

If you’re wanting to be close to work (i.e. reduce commute time, no need for owning a car etc), buying in the city might be right up your alley.

Plus, you’re very likely to be a stone’s throw away from the social scene of bars, shops, and restaurants.

Unless of course, you’ve got a young family to take care of, which would make city life not as appealing vs. living in the suburbs.

Buying in the suburbs will definitely give you a more child-friendly environment with its proximity of parks, choice of schools, to name but a few.

#2 – Education: importance of nearby schools

There’s no doubt about it that the availability of schooling (whether it be the quality and/or choice) will be better in the suburbs.

Also, the ‘inner-city‘ schools tend to have a lower graduation rate than suburban ones. Unless you’re opting for private schooling and then it’s a completely different ball game.

Not everyone has the financial means (nor desire) to live in the suburbs and work in the city!

Quality of life anyone?

The trade-off between the two will be something each home buyer needs to figure out for themselves.

#3 – Accommodation: what’s the living space itself like?

Life in town and you’re looking for ‘tiny spaces‘.

Especially the newer developments won’t be too eager to offer a lot of under roof space!

Life in the suburbs and you’ll very likely at least have a garden and more room(s).

Plus, the ‘bang for your buck‘ will be quite a bit less in the city where square meterage tends to be rather limited!

Great for a single or young couple; not so great for a young family!

#4 – Employment: what about the job availability?

While it’s great to have a lovely quality of life living in Dainfern, finding a decent job nearby that pays those bills might be a different matter.

Time to commute to the city (in this example, likely to be Sandton), which means many, many hours of battling traffic on a daily basis!

And what if the employment situation changes?

#5 – Lifestyle: are there any parks in the proximity?

Kicking off the shoes and letting your feet enjoy a decent green patch of grass in the city might turn out to be mutually exclusive.

Availability of parks might be one of the biggest downsides of buying in the city!

Whereas it might be around the corner in the suburbs, living in the city might mean hopping on some public transportation before reaching the closest park!

#6 – Safety: how safe is walking around during the day or at night?

Obviously, crime rates (and types of crime) will vary from area to area, but in general, a certain neighborhood will likely (not) have a reputation for being safer.

Each of us needs to determine for ourselves whether the presence of certain crime falls within their personal tolerable safety limits.  

There’s one direct way one can discover these things: consult the local real estate agent to find out more details about certain neighbourhoods.

Another advisable option would entail driving through the neighbourhood during different times of the day/week to ascertain its activities.

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