When it comes to where we live, we have a lot of choices. There are apartments, condos, townhomes, and houses. Then there are the neighborhoods, school districts, HOAs, and other nearby variables based on location. One of the phrases you’ll hear a lot in real estate is “location, location, location”. This is for good reason; location determines property values, the cost of living—even lifestyles you can expect to lead or live around. Choosing rural or urban living will make a huge difference in your cost of living, property values and lifestyle.
So what exactly do rural and urban mean? And what does it mean for real estate? We’ll dive in and talk a little about what rural and urban living might mean for you. What can you expect in either situation? How might they affect your choice the next time you move or start on a home buying journey?
What Does Rural Mean?
You might have an image in your head already; long stretches of road, farm-style houses, metal roofs, a quieter lifestyle, friendly neighbors. So what’s the actual definition of rural living? For this, we’ll take a look at how the USDA’s Economic Research Service classifies rural areas. They have some ways they look at rural and urban living on the economic side. They define rural counties using three primary criteria: open countryside, rural towns—or towns with less than 2,500 people, and urban areas with 2,500-49,999 people that aren’t a part of a larger metropolis.
The official definition of rural has a lot to do with population, nearby workforces and closest urban centers. Whether you’re using an official or casual definition, you can think of a rural area as having low population density. They also have less proximity to a large downtown area, and, yes, you might see some metal roofs. With all this talk of proximity to an urban area, what exactly does urban mean?
What Does Urban Mean?
The U.S. Census Bureau defines an urban area as, essentially, a city with 50,000 or more people. When people say urban, they’re usually talking about dense areas and large downtowns. The housing can be a little tighter than rural areas, and—of course—city life. The city of Fresno, with over 500,000 people easily counts, but there are plenty of nearby rural areas just outside the city limits that are within Fresno county. If you’re looking at real estate in the Fresno area—you’ve got access to the best of both worlds.
The Pros And Cons Of Urban and Rural Living
When it comes to urban living, you can look forward to accessing a bustling downtown, a good variety of restaurants, museums, and nightlife, as well as more choices in school districts and neighborhoods. There are pros and cons to both rural and urban living though. With rural living, you can look forward to lower costs and more space. This can also include a more quietly paced life, proximity to nature, and less ambient noise and light. Here we’ll talk about what each one might look like.
What Rural Living Might Look Like
There are a lot of pros to rural living. You can look forward to lower costs of living, reduced property values—meaning more bang for your buck, and even a quieter lifestyle.
Lower Property Values And Reduced Cost Of Living
Generally, homes in rural areas can be much cheaper than those of the same relative size in urban areas. This can be a huge plus if you’re looking for a larger home in particular. In a rural area, you’re likely to be able to find much larger properties for the same price you would in a property of the same size in a dense urban area. So, if you’re looking for the most square feet for your dollar, rural areas are a good place to look.
Generally, people living in rural areas tend to spend a lot less money on living expenses than their urban living counterparts. This means that you can expect to live a more affordable lifestyle in a rural area and still enjoy the amenities you love.
If you don’t love the sounds of the city, traffic, and waking up to lots of ambient noise, rural living might be the choice for you. Rural areas tend to have a lower population density, and that can mean a lot less noise and hustle and bustle. For some people, this is ideal. Instead, you can enjoy less ambient noise and less ambient light in the evenings too.
Proximity To Nature
Rural living usually involves open countryside. That means you’ll likely have closer proximity to nature as well. If hiking, camping, birdwatching, spending time in nature, and being away from the big city are things that interest you, you’ll be happy to know that rural living can bring you just that. Did I mention stargazing? If you’re into mapping constellations and gazing at the heavens, having less ambient light means you’ll be able to see the stars much more as well.
What Urban Living Might Look Like
There are a lot of pros to urban living. You can enjoy being close to other people, lots of restaurants, access to museums and, and an even bigger nightlife.
Access To Jobs
One of the things you might’ve heard people say is that the jobs are in big cities. And this does tend to hold up. With higher population density tends to come higher “job density,” and even higher pay. Some research backs this up, and the more education workers have, the bigger the difference between rural and urban areas.
One of the great things about big cities and urban areas is they tend to have a lot of cultural treasures. You’re more likely to find a wider variety of museums, foods, music, nightlife, and other cultural treasures. If you’re all about cultural enrichment, an urban area in a big city might be the choice for you.
If you love gazing up at tall buildings, bustling downtowns, exciting nightlife, and being around lots of people, urban areas might suit you very well. Urban areas come with higher population densities, and that density drives people to build up, congregate more, and build beautiful downtown and commerce areas. If these things appeal to you, then urban living might be the perfect place to live.
Rural and urban lifestyles each have their unique benefits. Whether you’re looking for quiet nights of stargazing, being around nature, and low costs of living, or you’re looking for adventure in the big city, tall buildings, museums, and nightlife, there’s something great out there for you.
The best part about Fresno is that it has both! It’s important to think about what you look for in your living situation because both rural and urban living have their pros and cons. These are just a few of the factors to consider if you’ve been wondering which type of living is right for you!