The Big Versus Small City Debate: Which Side Are You On?

The Big Versus Small City Debate: Which Side Are You On?

The Big Versus Small City Debate: Which Side Are You On?
(Dreamstime)

Rekha Trivedi works for the public works department in Lucknow. After spending 10 as an earner, Trivedi has now saved enough money to buy a decent house. While the city of her current residence looks like a great investment option, Trivedi, who is originally from Indore, is also considering having a home in capital Delhi. She is, however, finding it hard to make a final decision. Rates of property in Lucknow are seeing a healthy growth. Investing here could be a wise option, she thinks. However, Delhi, where property prices have largely remained stagnant in the recent past, also has so many incentives. What should Trivedi do? The big versus small city debate often confuses homebuyers. Before you settle for one, you have to ask yourself certain generic and personal questions.

Is affordability a factor?

It was not the national capital Delhi or India's financial capital Mumbai that topped the list when the national Housing Board released the data on property price appreciation. It was Odisha capital Bhubaneswar which witnessed the biggest price rise between October-December (December quarter of Q3) and January-March (March quarter or Q4) period of the financial year 2016-17.  Data by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) show property prices across 10 cities moved upwards in the December quarter of the financial year 2016-17 on a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) basis. However, it was Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh capital, that registered the greatest appreciation, at an annual HPI (house price index) growth of 19.3 per cent. This growth certainly makes the two cities great investment option.

Now, are you looking for a property with an aim to invest or simply to live in? In case it is the latter and affordability is a prime criterion, here is an insight.

Data available with PropTiger.com show average rate of property is Rs 2,800 per square foot (sqft) and Rs 3,400 per sqft in Lucknow. While average rates of property in Delhi are Rs 4,900 per sqft and Rs 8,600 in Mumbai, you do have options that would cost you as much as a property in Bhubaneswar or Lucknow. There are several other costs that you pay when you opt for a small city to buy a property in. While making a decision, you factor in these costs, too, so that you are able to assess the monetary implications of your final call.

Towards jobs: While small cities are witnessing a momentous growth as employment generators, big cities are where the highest number of jobs is concentrated in. Opting for a big city also means you have a broader employer base. Switching jobs would also be easier if you are working in a big city because the number of employers here would be far too great.  

Towards education: Big cities are also home to the country's best educational institutes. Every year, a large number of students migrate to big cities to pursue higher education. If you have a grown-up child who would soon be filling collage forms, you would find it much easier if you dwell in a big city. Those living in smaller cities will have to engage in a great deal of travelling before the admission process is complete.

What lifestyle do you want?

In the prime of our lives, we are busy earning our living. We would like to have a well-established social infrastructure around us to entertain us as and when we can. Big cities, with their grand eateries, tall malls and plush recreational centres make an easy choice at a time like that. As we grow old, we may start preferring a comparatively quite life. This is one parameter where small cities easily beat the big ones.

A small city gives you the luxury of enjoying a quite life. Small cities in a way offer you best of both worlds – you could get the hustle bustle and you could get the quite, whichever you prefer. In the middle of a busy, big city that is hardly a possibility. It may be ideal to spend your working life in a big city. In your twilight years, moving to a small city is a better option. 

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