Where Do You Belong: the City or the Suburbs?

It’s the age-old question: are you a city mouse or a country mouse? Does the sound of distant sirens lull you to sleep or do you need peace and quiet? We’re all familiar with the stereotype of young people making a life for themselves in the city only to move to the suburbs when they’re older and ready to “settle down” but how realistic is this? And is a life in the suburbs truly superior to the metropolis?

Read our list of the good and the bad for each to figure out if you’re Team City or Team Suburb.

Team City

Convenience

Those who live in KL, Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya are often the envy of those who don’t simply because they’re so close to everything. We’re talking the big malls like Sunway Pyramid, the hipster cafes and quirky entertainment. Personally, as someone who lives and works in Putrajaya and Cyberjaya respectively, all of these places are ‘special occasion’ places because it’s quite inconvenient to travel to them otherwise.

Also, public transport in the city is much more accessible and efficient in urban areas. Anywhere you could possibly want to go in the city – more often than not, there’s a train station or bus stop nearby.

Culture

With the city comes culture. Museums and art galleries, orchestras, theatres, fancy restaurants, enriching activities…you’re not likely to find all that in the suburbs. If you live in areas where many expats tend to live, you and your (hypothetical) kids will be more exposed to different kinds of people and lifestyles. One such area is Mont Kiara in which Publika shopping gallery is located. Almost every weekend there are children-centred, family-oriented activities for kids of locals and expats alike. In this globalized world it’s great to be able to mingle with people of different countries and walks of life.

City vs Suburbs 02

Higher salary

Job positions based in cities generally pay better than those that aren’t. Though you do have to be wary of the double-edged sword here. The cost of living in busy cities reflects the pay and is higher, too, making it more difficult to add much to your savings account.

Education

KL is home to some of the most well-known schools in the country, like Convent Bukit Nanas, St. John’s Institution and ISKL (International School Kuala Lumpur) as well as universities like Monash, Taylor’s and UM (Universiti Malaya). Basically, what I’m saying is there are a tonne of options for education in the city.

Smaller living space

You’re probably thinking “Uh, this is an advantage?” Yes it is! Unless you’re someone who never compromises on keeping your bedroom/living space clean and organised (in which case: that’s awesome. Never change) then owning a bigger space might just be a hassle for you in terms of maintaining it. Young adults know the working life is tough; you wake up early, finish work late and by the time you get home all you want to do is sleep, not clean. A smaller home means there’s less work that has to go into its upkeep. Plus, there’s less chance of you becoming a hoarder if there’s no space in which to actually hoard.

Verdict for Singles: Clichés are clichés for a reason. It’s ideal for single folks to live in the city; especially for the time in your life when you’re at your most social – meeting friends after work, doing various activities during the weekends. You don’t want to be inconvenienced with long journeys (by train or public transport) just for those little pleasures.

Verdict for Families: There are plenty of families who live in the city and still manage to have a grand ol’ time. With due diligence (when looking for a home check out the neighbours, windows that lock and accessibility for strollers) the environment can be just as safe as that in the suburbs and in fact, the kids may be more exposed to the cultural treats cities have to offer as well as make more friends from different cultures and experiences.

Team Suburb

City vs Suburbs 03

More space

A landed house with a garage, a yard, and a lot of space for all your things, maybe even a children’s playground at the end of the road – that’s the biggest appeal for many of those who move away from the city. They want a home that can reflect them and grow with them as they themselves grow and (potentially) start a family.

Lower cost of living

Away from the metropolis, cheese naan suddenly drops by RM1-2, groceries are a smidge more affordable, and parking fees aren’t as ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that property in the city is much more expensive: condos in places like Semenyih can start from RM200,000 while those in and around KL usually start from RM350,000-RM400,000 and can go up all the way into the millions.

Education

Public and private schools are easy to find in most cases; it’s mainly the universities that are a bit scarcer. If you are more inclined to live outside the city, do some research on well-established educational institutions within a reasonable vicinity.

Relaxed lifestyle

Life in the suburbs is generally less stressful, especially if you also work or study close by. You don’t have to worry about the crazy traffic jams that turn what should be a 15-minute drive into an hour-long nightmare.

Community

Remember those days as a child when the neighbourhood kids would knock on your door and ask your mother if you can come out and play? Those weekend barbeques, the playground adventures, going home when the street lights came on. In the city, especially in a condo, neighbours are anonymous. Think about it, do you even know the name of your upstairs neighbor with the loud shoes? Do you say hi to them in the elevator or look down to your phone? In the suburbs at least, you can see your neighbours and connect the face to the house they’re coming from.

Knowing your neighbours also acts as a good security measure – when you’re all invested in the safety of the neighbourhood and each other, everyone looks out for one another.

City vs Suburbs 04

Commute

Again, if you’re living and working in the suburbs, it should be a breeze for you to get around. No rush, no stress. On the flip side, of course, you’ll have to leave your house early and be mentally prepared to face the commute to the city if that’s where you work.

Verdict for Singles: Buying a house in the suburbs is a good investment for your future, whether or not you plan on starting a family. Be sure to buy a house with a good resale value in the event that you have to/want to move somewhere else.

Verdict for Families: A suburban environment would suit you best if you like the slower-paced, leisurely life and you want to settle down and grow some roots in the community. Suburbs are a great option because the houses in them will have all the things a growing family usually needs: plentiful storage, outdoor space and a driveway.

Truly, it all depends on your lifestyle and preferences. Now that you have a clear view of your options, and the pros and cons that may lie behind them, you can choose which fits you most. NuProp offers the best selection for both the suburban and the city life. Just know that whichever you choose: you can make it work!

Images: KLpac.org, Pexels.com