City vs. Suburbs: 5 Tradeoffs to Consider When Buying Your First Home

Buying a first home is an exciting and stressful time in anyone’s life. A lot of time and planning goes into purchasing your first home, and for good reason. In this day and age it is not uncommon for you to be putting up to and beyond a million dollars down on a house. We have compiled 5 things to keep in mind when deciding between the city and the suburbs in choosing your first home. Upcoming suburbs like Yarrabend are a great example of what city living has to offer, whereas further out suburbs like Mount Waverley or Syndal are good examples of the quieter comforts of the suburbs.



A big factor in picking a place to buy should be transport. Life tends to throw many curve balls at us at seemingly random times, and you never know when you will or will not be able to drive somewhere, so it’s always good to keep in mind your public transport options when looking at properties for purchase. Is it close to trains or buses? How far is the walk? One quintessential question in judging distance is always “Will I want to make this walk on a cold, rainy morning before work”, as it tends to give a good personal perspective.

Noise Level

The closer you get to the city, the louder it will likely be. This is simply because more and more people live in closer proximity to each other the closer you get, and that will mean more cars starting, more loud conversations, busier roads, and more public transport sounds. Can you sleep with these sounds going on at night? Will that 6am train wake you up every single morning for the rest of your life?


It almost goes without saying, but a safe neighborhood is a better place to buy than an unsafe neighborhood. Looking up crime statistics for your area is a good way to see the kinds of crimes committed around you. Every suburb has them, and it’s not going to make them more prevalent to understand what’s happening in the places you are looking to buy. Is a lower house price worth increased risk of burglary? A telling question for how you instinctively feel is “Would I feel able to walk through this suburb at night safely”, and if the answer isn’t yes, is the area right for you?


The closer to the city you get, the more you will pay, this is a fact in any city in the world. More and more shops, more and more restaurants and bars, better nightlife and more choices for entertainment make city living very desirable to people from all walks of life, and as such the price for such places skyrockets with the demand. Suburbs, on the other hand, are more residential, safe (typically), family and community focussed, and, of course, cheaper.


The quality of the home you are buying is paramount. To purchase a house or apartment that is crumbling at the walls is destined to be a place you work on for years and years before being happy with it, and a pristine, brand new house will be overly expensive in even the least expensive areas. A healthy middle is the ideal for most people, where a house will be in good condition for it’s age, but not clearly aged in it’s appearance or function.

These factors are huge in buying houses. They make up a big part of a house-buyer’s mentality when looking at a place, and contrary to popular media, it’s rare that a family will find a house, “fall in love with it”, buy it and live happily in it for many years. Analyzing house prices, transport locations, safety, and noise levels should be a part of every home-buyer’s checklist, as the perfect house is out there somewhere.