The city lifestyle has a unique appeal that suburban and rural living doesn’t offer. With its hustle and bustle, flow and energy, it makes sense why so many young people move to a metro area like San Francisco, New York or Philadelphia. Around every corner, there’s something new and exciting to experience.
That said, renting in a city center can have its negative aspects along with the excitement. Since signing a lease is such a significant commitment, it’s essential to understand everything city living entails, both the good and the bad. Only then can you feel confident in your decision and be well informed and prepared for potential problems.
Here are a few of those potential problems, as well as some positives of city living, such as transit accessibility, career opportunities, rent and other factors to consider.
Pros of Renting in a City Center
You’ll enjoy a number of benefits when living in a metro area.
1. Transit Accessibility
If your motivation for moving to a metro area is work-related, you’ll find your commute is comparatively quick and easy. While many commuters who live in suburban areas have to drive a considerable distance and fight against traffic to navigate a city, you have multiple modes of public transit to depend on.
Within a broader context, the convenience of buses and subways directly contributes to your quality of life. Your commute determines when you wake up, when you go to bed and the amount of free time you have in the evening. It’s something to think about when choosing between the suburbs and the city.
2. Social and Cultural Amenities
Major metro areas have a wide range of social and cultural amenities like nightclubs, sports stadiums, performing arts centers and museums. Whether you enjoy Italian, Thai or Mexican food, you’ll likely find restaurants catering to each cuisine within walking distance of your apartment. If variety is a top priority, a city is ideal.
While it’s true that suburban areas have their own restaurants and art centers, they’re often scaled down and farther apart. Additionally, high-profile musicians usually won’t visit a small town, and if you’re interested in catching your favorite band live in concert, you’ll usually have to travel to see them.
3. Career Opportunities
The high population of a major metro area naturally lends itself to more job opportunities. New businesses and expanding companies need employees, and whether you’re a business executive, scientist, engineer or a service industry worker, there’s demand for someone with your skills and experience.
You’ll also network with far more people than you would if you lived in a suburban or rural area. As you meet other professionals in your field, you’ll make connections and build relationships with the potential to help you advance in your career. It’s easier to climb the corporate ladder.
Cons of Renting in a City Center
While the city has benefits, it has downsides as well.
1. Lack of Space
An apartment may suit your lifestyle at the moment, but over time, you could begin to feel cramped and restricted. Even a large, multi-bedroom unit might not be sufficient to accommodate a growing family, and if your plans for the future involve children and a dog, the absence of a yard might trouble you.
Before deciding to sign a lease, consider your short- and long-term goals and aspirations. If you can’t see yourself giving up city life in the next few years, you likely won’t have any issues. But if you’re dreaming of fixing up a home now, then the delay may not be welcome.
2. High Cost of Living
In most U.S. cities, the income needed to live a comfortable lifestyle exceeds the median household income. Renters in Delaware, Florida, New Mexico, Maine and nine other states spend more than 50 percent of their earnings on necessities, struggling to make enough money to meet the demands of urban living.
That said, rent isn’t the main contributor to their financial difficulties. In fact, the average monthly rent in an urban setting is $1,640, which is $55 less than the average suburban monthly rent. Much of the strain comes from other expenses associated with living in a metro area, and is also dependent on location. Some of the biggest metros in the U.S. have greater financial challenges for renters than smaller cities.
When you live close to other people, you might make some sacrifices. Noise and odor issues are fundamental to the rental lifestyle, and they’re almost impossible to avoid. One neighbor could decide to try out their new stereo system in the middle of the night, and another could cook something with too much garlic.
On the upside, living in a city center means you’re more likely to run into potential friends. If you’re young, there’s a higher percentage of peers in your age group within just a few miles. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what kind of noise and crowding you can handle.
Are You Meant To Be a City Dweller?
Depending on your personal preferences, you may not care about smaller apartments and higher costs. Your motivations might center on your job, your friends and your love for culture, all of which can thrive in a city center.
Or, you crave the peace of a suburban apartment and are looking forward to making a space you can call your own. There’s no right answer here — where you’d like to rent is a deeply personal decision. Understanding the pros and cons of all your options can help you hone in on the choice that works best for you.