Townhomes in autumn

The Rise of Townhouses

Are you looking for a new home, or maybe a rental property?

A condominium, townhouse, semi-detached or single-family home are just some of the selections. Each housing type comes with its own unique advantages. Condominiums offer amazing amenities and low maintenance. A single-family home has lots of living space.

Townhomes have been rising in popularity over the last couple of years. Townhomes offer the best of both worlds. You get condominium-like community amenities but also the privacy of a single-family home.
According to Zolo, throughout the month of September there were 634 townhouses sold in the Greater Toronto Area, this is a 13% increase from 2018.

The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) states that townhouse construction is likely to expand more because they appeal to first-time buyers and because the demand for walkable neighborhoods is growing. Townhouses also require less land than single-family houses.

Many townhome communities have a property manager and are part of a condo association. This means residents get their roofs, lawns and parking spot maintained, among other benefits. There can also be rules and regulations in place for townhome communities similar to condo communities, ensuring all the neighbours are responsible.

Townhomes offer a realistic opportunity to transition into home ownership, but the appeal is not driven by cost alone.

Millennial buyers often prefer tightly-knit, interactive communities where they can get to know their neighbours. Townhome living does not hold a negative stigma, and the suburbs are exploding with upscale townhouse developments like The Hazel Townhomes in Mississauga, and NuTowns in Pickering.

Historically, townhouses were built to accommodate the growing population of city centres. The goal was to pack as many people into a neighbourhood as possible. New York City in the 19th century was known for constructing full streets of townhouses, many of which still exist today.

Newly built townhouses, unlike those from earlier decades, typically have an open floor plan on the main level and a master suite with a private full bathroom. High-end townhouses sometimes have roof decks and elevators. The ability to personalize and transform a townhome into the ideal family home or bachelor pad appeals to individuals looking for that extra bit of space and high ceilings.

Whole suburb communities are planned around townhouse living, interconnecting walkways, bike paths and parks to encourage neighbours to congregate and their children to play together. Master planned communities such as these, include access to new schools, libraries, community centres and of course, shopping.

By opting for a townhouse instead of a single-family home, your utilities are bound to be less.

Sharing one or more walls with your neighbours means heat stays trapped inside. With a smaller home to clean, you will use less water and there will be fewer light switches. The best way to ensure your paying for the actual amount of utilities you use is to make sure your townhouse has a suite metering system in place. Suite metering is the only fair and accurate way of measuring and billing for utility consumption based on individual suite usage.

If your townhome community is not suite metered, your maintenance fees will be higher, and your increasing fees could be subsidising your neighbours’ outrageous water and electricity usage. With suite metering there is incentive to reduce utility usage. By reducing your usage, you will save money, keep your pipes in good condition and help the environment.

Space is very important.

In urban or densely populated suburban areas where land is at a premium, a townhome may be the perfect option for small families or empty nesters. Downsizing from a large house to a condo can be daunting. Transitioning from a spacious home to a townhouse can be a bit easier.

The outdoor maintenance with a townhouse is much less cumbersome. Your weekends will be free to enjoy leisure activities rather than slaving over your garden and lawn all day. Space is managed very well in townhome communities. Your king-sized bed will still fit in the master bedroom, and your dream hot tub can be put on the back porch, something that cannot be done in most condos.

Community space is important too. Townhome neighbourhoods are usually very walkable. You will be closer to amenities including restaurants, grocery stores and public transportation. Large detached homes take up more space and are built further and further away from walkable communities.

Whatever type of home you are in the market for, be sure to do your research on everything, especially how your utility costs are billed.

To learn more about the detailed costs of townhome living, visit ICC Property Management’s blog: Top 7 Benefits of Owning a Townhouse.