Why I choose to rent in downtown HCMC despite owning a house in the suburbs

By Winter   June 10, 2024 | 03:12 pm PT
Why I choose to rent in downtown HCMC despite owning a house in the suburbs
Commuters stuck in a long line of traffic jam on the morning of May 20, 2024 as they move from Thu Duc City to downtown Ho Chi Minh City on Dinh Bo Linh Street. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
I own a house in the suburbs, but I decided to rent it out and use the income to rent a place in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

Many people believe that living in the suburbs is a cost-effective solution given the high rents in the city center. But is it truly worth it? While the cost of living in suburban areas is indeed lower, the trade-off comes in the form of increased time spent commuting rather than enjoying your home.

The long commute often means many people choose to eat dinner out before heading home, as cooking after returning home late could mean not eating until 8-9 p.m. This is particularly problematic for those with digestive issues.

Traffic congestion is a significant issue in both the inner city and the major roads connecting remote districts and suburbs to the center. The situation worsens if your route coincides with those leading to the airport, port, or industrial parks, where traffic jams are even more severe.

Imagine living 30 kilometers from your workplace. The commute would take at least two hours daily. Considering an eight-hour workday, an hour for lunch, eight hours for sleep, and two hours for commuting, you're left with only five hours for everything else. With such a tight schedule, spending a bit more to live in the inner city becomes reasonable. Long commutes are energy-draining and, unless you have a company shuttle, can significantly impact your health over time.

My solution is to avoid renting far from the inner city. Instead, look for areas within 15 kilometers of the center with convenient roads and less traffic. You don't need to live right next to your workplace, but aim for a commute of no more than an hour each way. Long-distance commutes often involve national highways and belt roads, increasing the risk of accidents, especially when sharing the road with trucks and containers.

If you own a house far from your workplace, consider renting it out and using the income to rent a place closer to your job. My house in the suburbs is conveniently located in a car-accessible alley near the main road, allowing me to rent it out for VND20-25 million per month. With an annual rent increase of 10%, this income enables me to rent an apartment in the central area. If I choose wisely, I might have VND5-6 million left over each month for gas and food. Even if I don't have any money left over, the convenience of living in the center is worth the trade-off.

For me, home is where my family can enjoy life and spend quality time together. It's relaxing to arrive home within 10-15 minutes, take a shower, play with my children, and unwind, rather than battling traffic jams and road dust. Ultimately, the decision depends on each person's needs and goals.

The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress's viewpoints. Send your opinions here.
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