Weighing up the costs: living in the city versus outlying suburbs

There are many pros to living in the city, particularly Cape Town, but there are various pros to living in the outlying suburbs too, says Michael Bauer, managing director of IHPC estate agency. 
The appeal of living close to one’s place of work, schools, universities and the “buzz” of the city can often be understood, as time becomes more important to young and old, one can understand not wanting to live further than 15 minutes’ drive from day to day destinations. 
“What does play a huge role though is the cost of living in a more built up and busy node,” said Bauer.
Property tends to be more expensive in the more popular built up areas.  If a comparison were to be made of an average home in a suburb within five minutes of the CBD, Gardens or Tamboerskloof for example, a potential buyer could expect to pay anything from R4 million to R28 million with averages of around R3,6 million in Gardens and R5,2 million in Tamboerskloof (when looking at selling prices of homes according to Propstats, the IEASA Western Cape data service).
Alternatively, if an average family home in West Beach or Table View were bought, one could expect to pay around R2,3 million or R1,5 million respectively.
Other costs would have to compared as well, said Bauer.  The cost of driving to work and back if one lives in the city are very low compared to those of living in the outlying areas. The time spent in the car in the mornings and evenings also has to be taken into account, as this can sometimes be up to an hour each way every day, as does the high parking cost per day (parking in the CBD can cost approximately R1 000 per month if paid for on a monthly basis).  Alternatively, if a person lives in or close to the city it is easier to use other modes of transport, such as bus, bicycle or taxi - the availability of public transport is higher in the number of buses or taxis per hour in peak times. 
Municipal rates in built up and denser areas will be higher than the rates charged in the outlying suburbs (because of the higher cost of the properties themselves), but the plots of land allocated to each house in outlying areas are usually larger, which is a huge benefit to families with young children.
“As one can see, each option has its pros and cons and a person looking to buy property must evaluate carefully what his and his family’s needs will be, not just from a living perspective but from the costs of maintaining a certain lifestyle that each person wants.  As children get older, so does the need for more sport and social activities and if they live far from their friends or sports clubs, parents will spend much of their spare time in their cars each week.  If thought is given to all these priorities beforehand, then one can settle into enjoying the family home without questioning whether you made the right choice in where to live,” said Bauer.

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