Search for Savings & Loans
Where Should You Own a Home? Upcountry vs. Urban Living
Where Should You Own a Home? Upcountry vs. Urban Living
See The Best Loans Available in Kenya Today
Money Management

Where Should You Own a Home? Upcountry vs. Urban Living

Money254
Farah Nurow
July 8, 2022
Couple buying land upcountry.
Couple buying land upcountry.

Evaluating where you should build or buy your is more complex than it might initially seem. For most, it is a culmination of many years of planning, saving, and investing. And one of the most significant decisions they have to make in the process is to choose where to build. Home country or in the city? 

Buying a home is a long-term investment and, for some people, the ultimate financial goal. It is an investment whose outcome you want to be entirely sure about before you lay the first foundation brick. 

Cultural attachment to one's rural roots and retirement preparation are the leading causes that drive most people to build a home in their villages. Homes they visit only a few times per year. The other group will construct in the city to cut out rent expenses and build equity. But how do you decide where to settle? 

This article will dive into the Pros and Cons of buying your home in the city or your home country and the factors you should consider when deciding. 

Read Also: Can You Own a Home in Your 30s?

Buying a House in your Home country 

For savvy investors and urban dwellers, building a home in the countryside that you use a fraction of the time per year is a wrong financial move. They advocate for buying a home in the city or investing in vehicles that bring more money. They consider such investments that will never have any return as dead capital. 

Those who built in the countryside will argue that the properties will appreciate astronomically in the future or they're planning for retirement or other unforeseeable events that can lead to loss of income like disability or medical conditions. 

Both have solid arguments. But to understand if buying a home in the countryside will suit your needs, you will have to look at all the pros and cons of doing so. 

The Pros

It is cheaper: Although this has been changing as more people escaping urban congestion run to buy land; low population, low demand, and remoteness make properties in the countryside cheaper compared to cities. More affordable land rates, and construction labor, make it easier to build a house there. 

Freehold Titles: Unlike in urban places where you are given a lease when you buy land or an apartment (usually 99 years), land purchased in the countryside doesn't have such restrictions. You get a freehold title deed that gives you absolute property ownership. 

Self-sufficiency: Living in the countryside allows you the luxury to live off the grid. You can buy large tracts of land to farm all your food; you can generate your power using solar and cut other bills you can't escape if you build in an urban area. 

Peaceful: If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, especially after retirement, building in the countryside might suit you. You can cut costs and live a frugal lifestyle for the rest of your life. 

The Cons 

Low Economic Opportunities: Unless you are a remote worker or great at farming, making money in the countryside is hard. The economic opportunities are limited, and if you have advanced skills like software engineering, finding work can be almost impossible. With a low population, even starting a business might not work. 

Fewer Public Amenities: Public amenities like banks, gyms, libraries, cinemas, and fine restaurants are almost nonexistent in the countryside. You will often be forced to drive long distances on bad roads to access these amenities. And if you find them, they're either outdated or costly. 

Expensive Upkeep: If you are planning to buy a house in the countryside and use it a few times a year, it will cost you a lot in upkeep. You will have to hire someone to guard it and clean it daily. 

Utilities like electricity, clean water, and internet are also expensive and unreliable. You will need backups in most cases.

Hard to Resale: Reselling a property in the countryside can be impossible; low demand and availability of cheaper options can force you to sell cheaply, especially when you are in a financial fix and need to liquidate immediately. 

Urban Living

Diverse culture, access to all kinds of social amenities, and high-quality healthcare drive people to urban areas, and once they're accustomed to that lifestyle, they want it forever. They, therefore, prefer to buy homes in the city and settle with their families. 

For the anti-urban, the high cost of living coupled with congestion and pollution are some of the reasons they never think of buying a home in the city. But the main reason is how your options can be limited, especially when on a tight budget. You will have to settle for an apartment or gated community with no privacy. 

Let's look at some of the Pros and cons of buying your home in the city. 

The Pros 

Professional Growth: There are plenty of opportunities to grow your career and move up the ladder in urban areas. High-paying jobs in tech, medicine, law, and such fields are also more concentrated in cities. And if you lose your job, options are always available. 

Transportation: With modern roads everywhere, moving around for work and business is more effortless. Transportation facilities are highly developed to ensure ease of movement from accessibility to airports, trains stations, and on-demand public transportation like Uber. 

Education: Best schools are available in the city. Whether you are looking to give your children the best education or you want to take that part-time night classes to earn your master's, urban areas provide you with both. Unlike in the countryside, where quality education tends to be expensive, in the city, you can get it for a bargain due to government funding and many options. 

Appreciation: Properties in the city always increase in value. Your house can more than double in value within a decade. And if you put it on the market, buyers are in plenty. Liquidating is easier when you build your home in urban areas. 

The Cons

High Cost of Living: Not only is buying a house more expensive in a city, everything else comes at a higher cost. While you will make more money living in a town, the cost of education, transportation, utilities, food, parking, etc. will still cut significantly into your paycheck. 

High Crime Rates: Safety is one of the factors you use to determine where to build a house. Given that crime and economic opportunities are correlated, a city with a booming economy will also see high crime rates. If you choose to build in a town, be prepared to spend more on securing your home. 

High Cost of Insurance: Considering that crime rates are high and increased chances of being involved in accidents, insurance premiums tend to be more costly in the city than in urban areas.

Restrictions: You won't have much freedom to build the type of home you want. The city's plans will guide your construction most of the time. While you will need approval to build any home from the government, there are some types of houses you won't be allowed to construct in the city. 

Factors to Help you Decide Where to Build 

Career: Will building your home in the village affect your career? Even if you are working remotely, think how that will play out when you lose that job. Will you quickly find another remote job, or will you be forced to move back to the city? 

Budget: Where you decide to buy a home will largely be determined by your budget and financial health. If you qualify for a high mortgage and you are sure you can make all your monthly payments, buying in the city might be more attractive to you. 

Your Intentions and Goals: Consider why you want to build your home first. Are you building it as your retirement home or a vacation home you can sleep in when you return to your rural roots for holidays? Can you monetize the house when you are not using it? 

Family: Talk with your spouse and decide together where you should live. Will moving affect their career or your children's education? Will your children be going to boarding school? The decision you make should not inconvenience your family. 

Read Also: How to Build Wealth as a Couple in Kenya

WRAPPING UP 

Building a house is a significant financial move. Before you decide where to build, weigh all the options and settle on the one that makes the most sense financially and won't affect your budget or savings. 

You can also look at other options, like building in a neutral place. A small town can offer the best of both worlds: countryside and city life. And if you can afford it, you can build a house both in your home country and an urban area.

Farah Nurow is an experienced Content Writer who enjoys writing creative and educative articles meant to provoke readers' thoughts. He loves sunny weather and thick books. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Personal Loans available in Kenya on Money254

Money 254 is a new platform focused on helping you make more out of the money you have. We've created a simple, fast and secure way to find and compare financial products that best match your needs. All of the information shown is from products available at established financial institutions that our team of experts has tirelessly collected.

Instantly search loan products from established providers in Kenya and compare on the terms that matter most to you.
Money254
Find the best Personal Loans for me

Stay up to date with your money - sign up for our newsletter today.

Get updates from the Money254 team on financial news and new Money254 features.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.