What is a bedroom community?

Aalto Insights Team
Jan 31, 2023

Bedroom Community 101

A bedroom community in real estate is a small town or exurb that serves mainly as a residential area for homebuyers and homeowners who work in a larger, nearby city. These types of communities are also called commuter towns as they have a high concentration of residents who commute to nearby metropolitan areas or the local largest city for their jobs each day.

Residents of a bedroom community normally enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, with walkable downtowns or main streets that are perfect for nightlife and entertainment. There is also normally more of a small town or community feel in these areas as they are more family friendly than a large city.

Difference between a bedroom community and a suburb

The main difference between a bedroom community and a suburb is that a bedroom community is typically farther away from the city and requires a car. 

As mentioned above, the defining characteristic of a bedroom community is that it is within driving distance to a larger city. The cost of living in these small towns is also less than that of the more urban area. Bedroom communities also have some of the same conveniences that living in a suburb provides.

The main con of living in a bedroom community is the daily commute and dealing with rush hour traffic can be a headache, but many residents don’t mind this and feel that the trade off for a better lifestyle makes up for the drive to the city.

A bedroom community and the suburbs are terms that are often used interchangeably in real estate, but they are actually two different types of residential areas with distinct differences.

Bedroom communities have a high volume of single-family homes, good schools, peaceful and quiet lifestyle, and more affordable housing. They usually have lower crime rates but also less employment opportunities in the area proper. The housing market in these communities is often considered more affordable as they are outside of the main city or urban area, sometimes referred to as an exurb.

Suburbs, on the other hand, refer to a residential area located on the closer outskirts of a city and are characterized by a more family-friendly lifestyle. They are usually more densely populated than bedroom communities and have subdivisions that section off parts of the area into towns or different areas.

Suburbs can have a mix of housing options including apartments, townhouses, and single-family homes. The suburbs also typically have easier access to public transportation, more retail options, basic shopping centers and restaurant options, and a more diverse population of residents compared to bedroom communities.

Another key difference between the two area types is that bedroom communities are usually smaller and can have a more rural or small town feel compared to suburbs. In bedroom communities, residents usually rely heavily on personal vehicles to get around town or return home from work. In the suburbs, residents rely on personal vehicles, but also have the option to take public transportation as it is much more accessible.

While bedroom communities and the suburbs may share a few similarities, it is important to note that they are distinct residential areas with their own set of unique characteristics.

Key characteristics of a bedroom community

Some key characteristics of a bedroom community include proximity to a large city and a high volume of single family homes.

One of the main defining characteristics in real estate of a bedroom community is the high concentration of single-family homes. These homes are also normally larger than their urban area counterparts and have more outdoor space. They are also often located on quiet, tree-lined streets.

Another key feature of a bedroom community is their location, they are normally close enough to drive to larger urban areas or city centers but not close enough for public transportation.

For example, a bedroom community in the San Francisco Bay Area would be situated within a short drive of the city, allowing residents to easily commute to work on the 280 or 101 freeways. Daly City and Foster City are considered bedroom communities for residents who commute to the city of San Francisco for work. On the East Coast, Englewood in New Jersey is another example of a bedroom community as it is located within driving distance to New York City, the closest major city.

In addition to drivability to a larger city, bedroom communities often have good schools and other entertainment options that are not typically found in more densely populated urban areas. The entertainment options can vary, but usually include easy access to large parks and recreational areas or outdoor spaces as well as a variety of shopping and dining options.

Why buy a home in a bedroom community?

People buy in bedroom communities to enjoy better schools, larger homes, and a quieter lifestyle.

Some of the main reasons people choose to live in a bedroom community include access to better schools, larger homes, and a more affordable lifestyle. These communities can also be a great option for those who are looking for more of a family-friendly option compared to living in the larger city. They are also considered more quiet, peaceful areas as they are not as densely populated as a city. 

If you’re interested in moving to a bedroom community or exploring ones that are nearby your city, we recommend speaking with a real estate agent or doing online research to explore your options. There are homes added daily to aalto.com, so be sure to set up alerts for new listings in your desired area, get started at aalto.com/buy.

Aalto is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, License #02062727 and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. This article has been prepared solely for information purposes only. The information herein is based on information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy of the information. Aalto disclaims any and all liability relating to this article.

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