When it’s time to move, you can be faced with many options. The whole process of deciding on a location can be quite overwhelming. A condo in the ByWard Market, close to all the action and within walking distance of work? A freehold home in Westboro, with endless character? A new build townhome in family-friendly Orleans? If you’re faced with the decision of suburban living or urban living, there can be many factors to consider. Here are the advantages of both to help you make a better decision.
The closer you get to the city centre, the more you will pay per square foot. The closer you are to downtown and high-demand neighbourhoods like the Glebe, Westboro, and Old Ottawa South, you will pay higher costs, generally for a smaller property. Property taxes will also be higher. For many, this is worth the tradeoff in terms of proximity to amenities, shorter commute, or living in a mature neighbourhood with history. As you move away from the city centre, generally your dollar goes further in terms of square footage and lot size.
The old adage is that you can pick two of size, price, and location. You can get a large home in a hot neighbourhood, but it will be expensive. You can buy a property in a great location at a steal of a price, but it will be small. Or you can get a large home at a fantastic price, but the location will be further out.
Relative to other cities in North America, the National Capital Region has it easy when it comes to the daily commute. However, it won’t feel that way when you’re stuck bumper to bumper on the Queensway or it takes 30 minutes just to cross a bridge out of Quebec. When you live in the centre of the city, it takes less time to drive to work and you may even be able to walk or bike to work in the temperate months.
Suburban living is great if you work from home, don’t mind the commute, or work against the flow of traffic somewhere like Kanata North Business Park. All told, Ottawa has an excellent transportation network and if you are located near a Transitway stop or the Queensway, you can get anywhere in the city in under an hour. Once the light rail network infrastructure is complete, commuting will improve even more.
Let’s face it, when you live in a city, it’s very easy to walk to a variety of amenities and institutions within minutes. If you look at Toronto and Montreal, both rank in the top 10 for walkable cities in the world, with Ottawa ranking in the top 20 by Walk Score. These cities have neighbourhoods with excellent access to public transit, people, and places.
Many suburban areas also have excellent walk scores, but they are often designed around the car. If you are strategic with choosing a location, you can easily find a new home that is within walking distance of everything you need.
In downtown Ottawa you’ll find world-class attractions, restaurants, and amenities. Whether you want to enjoy a romantic dinner in the Market, shop for high fashion at the Rideau Centre, take the kids to the Museum of Nature, or enjoy the sights and delights of festivals like Winterlude and Tulip Fest, it all happens in Central Ottawa.
The suburbs are nothing to sneeze at, either. Suburban fare like OCCO Kitchen in Orleans have got the city buzzing, the Stittsville Flea Market is a must-see attraction, and Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata is home to the NHL’s Ottawa Senators and regular concerts from superstars like Garth Brooks, Drake, and AC/DC.
There are plenty of arguments between city and suburban living, and both have many benefits that support either option. Choosing what is right for you is a personal decision that comes from understanding all the factors involved, along with the lifestyle that you enjoy.