Types of Housing

The 4 Main Types of Housing in Toronto:

Are you ready to start hunting for a home? While many buyers know exactly what they’re looking for, some need to do their research before settling on a criteria. Often, that extends to the type of property they plan to buy. If this sounds familiar, we have some good news.

In Toronto’s real estate market, homes of all kinds have the potential to be profitable long-term investments. Having said that, there are some key differences between a house, condo, townhome, and semi-detached property. Knowing what they are can help you make a truly informed decision.

For each of the major home types, here are the biggest pros and cons to consider…

Single-Family Home

For many aspiring buyers, it’s a single-family home (aka a house) or nothing. When you purchase one, you get a living space that’s truly your own. The entire building and corresponding land are all yours! That means you can remodel as extensively as you want without asking anyone for permission.

Living in a house is also the ultimate in privacy, not to mention peace and quiet. On the flip side, you can crank up the stereo as high as you want (within reason) without having to fear noise complaints.

It goes without saying that houses are typically the most expensive property type, and not just due to the sticker price. If you buy one, you’ll likely pay more for costs like heating and cooling (since you’ll probably have more square footage than you would in a condo). You’ll also be responsible for all of your property’s maintenance—from raking the leaves to repairing your appliances.


Think you might enjoy condo living? In most cases, opting for a unit over a single-family home will save you some serious coinage. It also means you’ll spend a lot less time taking care of your property.

Your maintenance fees help ensure that your front steps get shovelled, your shared hallways are maintained, and your roof is repaired if it gets damaged. Just be aware that there may be some small differences regarding what’s covered from one building to the next.

Then there are the amenities. If you’re the type who unwinds on a treadmill or in a spa, there’s nothing quite like having what you want on-site. In addition, condos can make great income properties, since they’re perfect for tenants. In other words: if you ever decide to buy another home, you can rent your unit out for some extra monthly income.

Of course, there are some potential downsides to condos, too. You’ll have to follow a set of rules (related to things like pets and smoking), for one. You’ll also need to ask for permission to perform major renovations—and you may find yourself wanting more square footage and storage space down the line.

Townhome vs. Semi-Detached

If you’re looking for a happy medium, a townhouse or semi-detached property may fit the bill. These homes typically provide more space than you’ll find in a condo. As a rule, they also tend to be more private—and quieter than units in larger buildings.

These two property types are a little different. While a semi-detached is split into two homes by a shared wall, townhouses are built in rows (and they often have neighbours on both sides).

Another major difference? There’s only one model of ownership for semi-detached properties. For townhouses, there are two: condo and freehold. When it comes to the former, you own your home, but not the land it sits on. You pay maintenance fees to a homeowner’s association—and in return, your property’s upkeep and repairs are covered.

In contrast, owning a freehold townhouse is similar to having a single-family home. You own your living space and your land. You’re also solely responsible for taking care of your property.

The bottom line

If you’re not sure what type of living space is right for you, you’re not alone. Making a decision can be challenging, but it’s also a crucial first step towards finding the home of your dreams. By doing your homework and working with a talented local agent, you can ensure that the choice you make reflects your needs!

Looking to find your dream home in West Toronto? We know the area inside and out, and we’d love to help! Get in touch to learn what’s available.


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