5 Major Housing Types: What You Need to Know
During the homebuying process, questions such as “what’s the difference between condo and freehold townhomes” are extremely common, especially among first time homebuyers. This post will share the 5 major housing types (in order from most expensive to least expensive), and should serve as a useful guide for your home buying process:
Detached homes are typically include more square footage of living space, and a larger lot (depending on the area). Owners are 100% responsible for the upkeep/maintenance. Historically, detached homes have been the most expensive real estate asset – due to higher demand, and lack of land available, especially in cities like Toronto.
With one side being attached to another home, semis are somewhat similar to detached homes. This housing stock is less expensive than detached homes – however, it’s usually the second most expensive real estate asset in a given area. Owners are responsible for the upkeep of their portion of the home. In some cases, both neighbours share the cost for the upkeep/maintenance of both sides of the semi detached home.
Townhomes are certainly the most affordable low rise option for many first time homebuyers, especially in larger cities. Townhomes consist of at least 3 rows of homes (attached), and can go up to as many as 8 attached homes. There’s a new development trend of urban townhomes – which are two rows of townhouses, back to back (with no backyard). These type of residential units are also known as village townhomes.
Condo townhouses are also known as the hybrid option between townhomes and condos. You (usually) get the living space, and benefits of a freehold townhouses, and the benefits of having a condo board. The condo board would be in charge of the upkeep/maintenance of the townhomes’ exterior and common elements. Condo townhouses can come in regular sized townhomes, urban townhomes, and stacked townhouse. Stacked townhouses are also a new trend – where there are 2 – 3 units stacked. Depending on the developer, these style of townhouses usually consist of a parking garage.
Condo apartments are becoming the go to option for many millennials, since it’s typically the most affordable option, and/or because its closer to the city’s core. Due to land constraints in the recent years, more developers are building condos in the city’s outer core – such as Scarborough and Markham. Mississauga is a prime example of a ‘bedroom community’ turning into a condo city, around the Square One mall. Similar to condo townhomes, the upkeep/maintenance is taken care of by the condo board, which is funded through the maintenance fees collected.
Location is the biggest factor in real estate. In many cases, a condo in Toronto’s downtown core can cost more (or around) the average detached home in Oshawa – a suburban city east of Toronto. This is the case for many major cities – where homes get pricier as you move closer to the city’s core. Before diving into the home buying process, take a look at the options above, determine what is the best choice for your lifestyle, and budget.
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Writer: Jelani Smith
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