Exurbs vs. Suburbs: Do You Know the Difference?

If city living sounds undesirable, buying in the suburbs or exurbs might be more your speed. Although moving to the heart of a big city means being near major employers, top hospitals, schools, and culture, owning outside major metropolitan areas has an entirely different set of advantages. Exurbs and suburbs came about from a desire for more space and privacy within proximity of features. And while suburbs and exurbs do share many similarities—more square footage, less noise, less pollution, more privacy—here are 4 of the substantial differences.


1. Exurbs versus suburbs

The biggest distinction between these two types of communities is their location. Suburbs lie just outside of the city and provide a lifestyle close to shopping schools and transportation, whereas exurbs are areas farther out, beyond the suburbs. Exurbs tend to be situated in more rural areas and offer a remote locale free from noise and congestion. They can be near farmland or even the beach.


2. Life in the suburbs

Suburban homeowners have full access to everything in the shadow of the city: entertainment, restaurants and top-notch medical facilities still are within a reasonable drive. Although many suburbs have excellent public transportation options, you will most likely need a car to get from Point A to Point B. A move to the suburbs may be difficult for those who’ve grown accustomed to the hustle and bustle of the city. The good news is that the level of comfort and peace found in the suburbs often replaces the void over time.


3. Life in the exurbs

For homeowners craving complete privacy, the exurbs are the way to go: You have more usable land, fewer industries or nearby neighbors, and less crime and noise pollution. Exurbs are ideal for those who work from home or are looking for a second home/vacation property. However, exurbs tend to be spread out and less walkable than cities and many suburbs. Elderly homeowners also are more likely to become homebound if they lose the ability to drive.


4. The future of suburbs and exurbs

According to research from the Urban Land Institute, the suburban housing market in the U.S. shows no signs of slowing. As long as the demand for life outside the city remains high, the overflow to the suburbs will continue, and those communities will expand outward. Helping accelerate the growth: Technology makes it easier for more folks to work from home without the commute to the city.