Is it really cheaper to live in the suburbs?

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In most cities that are not on life support, is the accepted wisdom that it's cheaper to live in the suburbs than it is in the city; that's why people drive until they qualify for mortgages. On the basis of house prices alone, it is probably true. However most people who live in the suburbs need two cars; a lot of people live in the city might not have one at all.

In the Globe and Mail, Rob Carrick looks at the math with mortgage broker David Hughes. He compares a house in the suburbs and an urban house that costs almost 50% more. However the owners of the suburban house have two cars; the urban dwellers take transit. (see spreadsheet info here)

Let’s add up what happens over 40 years – 25 with a mortgage and 15 afterward. The suburban household pays a total of $1.3-million on mortgage principal and interest and transportation. The downtown household pays just a little bit less – $33,865, to exact.

Of course 40 years is a very long time, and we all might have self-driving electric cars, jetpacks or transporters to get around, advantage suburbs. Or we might all have to walk or ride bikes, advantage city. However looking at life as we know it, the match goes to the urban dweller.

More in the Globe and Mail.

Tags: Cities | Urban Life | Urban Planning

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