Rural and urban living have always held varying levels of appeal for different types of people. Homes separated by only a few miles can provide sharp contrasts in terms of the kind of lifestyle they offer; depending on whether they're set in a countryside environment, or whether they're part of a busy city centre.
Naturally, before settling on a location for your new property, it’s important to think carefully about the advantages and disadvantages of country living compared to city life, and figure out which option is going to suit your individual preferences, tastes and needs best.
In this guide, we’ll cover some of the most important pros and cons of country living compared to urban living - it’s worth thinking about each of these factors carefully before committing to a move because this decision could be pivotal in helping you achieve the home life of your dreams (no pressure!).
The case for rural living
For many people, the idea of a home in the countryside represents a dream come true; a long-cherished life goal or a reward for many years of hard work. That’s because there are numerous unique benefits to rural life that simply can’t be found in the busy city:
Lower upfront costs for a more luxurious home
Generally speaking, properties in rural locations can be purchased for a much lower cost than a similar-sized urban property, as high demand for limited space in town and city centres tends to drive prices through the roof. That means you can purchase a compact home for well below your intended budget range, or use the same amount of money to invest in a much larger home than you’d ever have been able to afford in a busier location.
Reduced cost of living
The monetary savings associated with country life don’t end with the initial purchase, however. Those accustomed to paying city-centre prices will soon find that their salary stretches a lot further out in the countryside, with amenities, groceries and nights out costing much less - even when shopping with brand-name retail chains - and monthly bills and utilities also becoming considerably cheaper. This adds to the appeal of a countryside home as an ideal solution for people who want a better life for less.
Space to live comfortably
The open nature of countryside environments can improve your quality of life in numerous ways. Rural properties tend to be larger, more spacious and more likely to have their own garden areas, making them ideal for those raising growing families. It’s also much easier for country residents to venture out into nature and find peaceful, idyllic open spaces in which they can explore, unwind and get some fresh air.
A sense of local community
Since fewer people live in country villages and rural areas, purchasing a home in these locations will give you the opportunity to become part of a tight-knit community with your neighbours and local business owners. For those who find city living to be overly crowded and anonymous, this can make a huge difference.
A more relaxed pace of life
Country homes are highly valued for offering a peaceful, comforting refuge from the often hectic pace of modern life - not only are rural neighbourhoods quieter and more picturesque, but they’re also known for being safer, with less crime, pollution, litter and traffic. This makes them ideal for older people, parents raising young families, or simply those who want to live a secure and health-conscious life, away from the hustle and bustle of the urban centres.
The case for urban living
For every person craving the peace and homeliness of a countryside property, there’s another who wouldn’t be able to bear missing out on the energy, vibrancy and boundless possibilities that come with living in a thriving urban centre. Here are just a few of them:
Better professional opportunities
For career-minded people, city life can often be an absolute essential. Leading businesses are usually headquartered in big cities, and in many sectors, the very best roles are only available to those with easy access to major urban centres. As such, moving to a city will provide you with a much wider array of career options and better pay prospects.
Easier to move around
The robust infrastructure of towns and cities makes it much easier to get from point A to point B than in the countryside, where residents often find themselves at the mercy of limited public transport routes, or having to drive long distances to get anywhere. In fact, many urban dwellers are able to skip buying and keeping an expensive car entirely, as they know they can rely on regular trains, buses, taxis and trams, or simply walk a few minutes to get to where they need to be.
Access to the best amenities
Urban living provides you with all the amenities, services and creature comforts you need, both in and out of the home. That means being able to access the fastest broadband speeds and mobile coverage; it also means having the biggest and best-stocked shops, libraries, malls and leisure facilities right on your doorstep, often with 24/7 access. Cities also tend to offer better access to medical, dental and police services, so help is always right around the corner when you need it.
The opportunity to find your own niche
Towns and cities are home to so many people that it’s often much easier to find social scenes and communities that suit your individual tastes, no matter how esoteric. In addition to the lively bars and restaurants, you’ll be able to find local groups, societies and meeting places that will put you in touch with like-minded people, and you usually won’t have to venture very far to find them.
A chance to be where things are happening
Town and city life is most likely to attract those who want to be where the action is and get involved with the most exciting cultural developments. By moving to an urban centre, you’ll gain access to big events, historic museums and galleries, multi-cultural dining experiences and all sorts of other enriching, exciting opportunities that are just waiting to be found.
Other factors to consider
Of course, picking between a country and a city home isn’t always a simple black-and-white choice - most people will need to weigh up the pros and cons on both sides before coming to a decision. It’s also worth considering a few other potential factors that might influence your choice:
The suburbs can offer a mix of both worlds
Today the differences between rural and urban life are not as binary as they once were, and modern suburbs exemplify this. Suburban homes can offer great access to town and city centres and a range of urban amenities, while still retaining the slower pace and greater sense of space that attracts many people to the countryside. For those who are looking for a blend of the two environments, the suburbs are worth considering.
Family considerations may end up being most important
Choosing a home isn’t just about your individual preferences - for many, the needs of their family and friends will be a huge deciding factor as well. Make sure to consider the current and future needs of everyone in the household - especially when it comes to school accessibility, and consider whether a move far away will take you further from the rest of your family than you’re comfortable with.
A change can be positive, even if it’s not what you’re used to
For those who are already firmly entrenched in either rural or urban living, do give some thought to the idea that a change in your current circumstances may be less daunting and more rewarding than you might realise. Long-term rural residents often find they thrive when they have a world of urban mod cons on their doorstep, while city folk could gain a lot from a slower pace of life. Before making a decision, it may be worth paying a visit to an area you’re considering, so you can get a flavour of the kind of life you could enjoy in a new place.
We'll get you moving faster!
We really hope that our Country Living vs Urban Living - The Pros & Cons blog has helped you - good luck with your decision.
You can also check out our full guide to choosing an area to live in for more information on what to look for when selecting a new home.