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July 19, 2018

Suburbs and Exurbs – Which Location Is for You?

Many people think housing falls into three categories – city (urban), suburbs and “the country” (rural). City and country living are pretty simple to identify, so that means that everything else in the middle is the suburbs, right? Well, no, not exactly. The suburbs are residential areas that sprung up on the outskirts of urban areas right outside of cities in the 1950’s through the 1970’s. During this time many more families bought cars (or even two cars), allowing the wage earners to commute into the cities to work, while they could purchase homes outside of the cities. Lower housing costs in the suburbs allowed commuters to purchase bigger homes on larger tracts of land, which was considered a positive environment by many parents and parents-to-be. These less congested areas were considered ideal for raising children, as many of these new “suburbs” had better schools as well as lots of room to run and play. Over time, the outer limits of the suburbs began to expand. As new home construction blossomed outside of the cities, businesses such as retail chain stores and restaurants, banks, auto dealerships and other backbone industries of modern commerce moved to the suburbs as well. The residential sprawl became industrialized in its own way. While many commuters still traveled into the cities to work, many began working in the towns in which they lived, rarely if ever leaving the suburbs. Many suburbs even offer public transit. Today’s suburbs include many of the traits that make city life convenient. The ever-growing desire for more space and more distance from neighbors and commerce drove some further afield – to create the exurbs. So what exactly is an exurb? Loosely defined as a semi-rural area of housing situated outside of the suburbs, extra-urban areas, also known as exurbs, are smaller residential areas which tend to lack their own major industries. Areas of “exurbia” generally exist within 250 miles of a metropolitan area. Characterized by their primarily residential status, they often consist of a variety of planned communities. Exurbs tend to attract residents with a high level of education, a comfortable income and a desire to “get away from it all”. Depending on their exact distance from the largest city in the area, exurbs can be more like suburban living or can more closely resemble a rural lifestyle. Cars are almost always a requirement; you’ll need them to take care of most errands. When it comes to commuting, many exurb residents use their cars get to and from work, while some exurbs do offer train services to major cities. Some exurbs don’t have their own municipally-based services such as sewer, water or trash pickup, so residents may be responsible for their own wells, septic tanks and private garbage hauling service. Some far-flung exurban communities lack cable television and high-speed Internet services, relying heavily on satellite providers. You may not be able to get pizza or Chinese food delivered, but you can certainly camp out on your huge back lawn under the twinkling stars. While some exurban communities feature pockets of high-cost homes with large parcels of land targeted to upper-income level buyers, some communities in these areas are desirable for buyers who have been priced out of the limited suburban market. With much of the available space already utilized in the suburbs, the cost of housing in the ring right outside of a major city may make home ownership impossible for lower middle to middle class families just starting out. The exurbs could be the answer for these buyers, as the cost of owning a home farther away from the city limits is typically lower. The Southern states are among the most likely to have greater numbers of exurban communities, and our area is no different. With surging growth in exurban communities in cities as large as Atlanta and as small as Richmond Hill, homebuilders are flocking to the undeveloped land on the outskirts of established communities to take advantage of this hot new housing market. If you’re considering a new home with room to spread out and enjoy a quieter life – especially with new construction - an exurban home may be for you. Have more questions about living on the fringes of a metro area? Ask the knowledgeable professionals at Ernest Signature Custom Homes – we’re here to help. Drop us an email or call us at (912) 756-4135 today!

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