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I guess the assumption is just as much one of: needs space for kids; can't afford more space in the city. Hence suburbs.



Around here, it's not primarily space that drives the suburbs, it's that the only decent schools are out in there, and not even the ones near the city, but the ones just before the belt of non-developed land that separates the city from the exurb commuter towns farther out. There are a handful of OK elementary schools closer in, but they all feed to terrible high schools.

The result is that the people who live close to the city are 1) young and childless (-free, whatever), 2) old and retired, 3) too poor to leave, or 4) rich enough to have gardeners and send their kids to private schools and pay a premium for a nice house closer to the city. This leaves out parents with two OK or one good income, who move to the distant 'burbs or commuter towns even if they'd rather live closer, because they can't afford private school.


Also the desire to own your house, rather than rent as is more common in for example, Berlin.


I see London rents when I go down there for work. People paying £800pcm for a room in a 3 bed house.

I pay less than that for a mortgage on a 4 bed in the suburbs, and most of that is equity repayment. Ie the cost is about 1/10th of the price of renting.

When you have kids, in the UK you need to own as otherwise you're stuck with a 3 year lease at most, if the landlord decides to whack up the price, or simply sell up, you get maybe 2 months to move. That's a pain when you're a young professional, but when the kids are at school and you can't find anywhere available in that tiny time period, you're screwed.




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