Suburban living exacts a larger financial burden for homebuyers in 17 of the nation’s 35 largest metro areas when compared with the costs of urban or rural homeownership. The San Diego market is the most expensive for suburban living, where the cost of a home in the suburbs absorbs 40.9 percent of the median household income, whereas urban home costs take up 35 percent of the typical income and mortgage payments on a rural home take up 37.3 percent of the median income.
However, Zillow noted that most urban homebuyers set aside a larger share of their income for monthly mortgage payments at 26.5 percent, compared with 20.2 percent suburban buyers and 13.4 percent of rural buyers. For renters, urban rental payments assign an average of 36.8 percent of the median household income to their monthly rental payments, compared to suburban renters paying 31.8 percent of their median household income and rural renters pay 23.9 percent of their typical income.
“Choosing where to live depends on many factors other than strictly financial terms,” said Zillow Director of Economic Research and Outreach Skylar Olsen. “The size and space of the home, and the nearby amenities have to meet your needs, or come as close as possible. How close you can come to those ideal options is always limited by what you can afford, and tradeoffs are almost always necessary. Finding a home in your budget can be a stressful process, whether you're looking to buy or rent. The difference between an urban core or more distant suburb could make all the difference.”