Spotlight: Townhouses

Dated: October 1 2020

Views: 214

Avery Lane Townhomes

People forget about townhouses. They want to buy a single family home and if they can't afford it - not an uncommon situation in the third most expensive market in the country - they start looking at apartments. (Note that I didn't say they start looking at "condos." This is because townhouses are almost always strata properties - condominiums.) And while there's nothing wrong with apartment living, in many cases townhouses hit the sweet spot of space, location, and affordability.

The term "townhouse" was coined in 18th Century England, when wealthy landowners would decamp from their country estates into the city for the social season. Townhouses allowed these these families to reside in the centre of town in the standard to which they were used without occupying a lot of unused land. The fashion was adopted in the growing cities of the United States, as well as Canada and the other countries of the British Commonwealth, wherever consumers sought to live close to the amenities of the city centre, where land was scarce and expensive. 

Some of the advantages of townhouse living include....

  1. Affordability - in August 2020 the benchmark price for a townhouse in the Victoria Core was $684,700 as compared to $889,200 for a detached house
  2. Lower maintenance - townhouses usually have a small yard, if any, and landscaping and exterior maintenance are commonly a strata responsibility
  3. Location - while townhouses do exist in the suburbs, they tend to be located in city centres and urban nodes near shopping, entertainment, and transit
  4. Community - where owners of detached homes typically have only a handful of neighbours within a few hundred yards, townhouse developments provide dozens of neighbours in the immediate vicinity, making it easier to develop a sense of community

The disadvantages of townhouses are the flipside of the advantages - while they tend to be more affordable than detached homes their resale value can also lag behind. And while having close neighbours is important to some, if privacy is what you seek a townhouse probably won't fit the bill.

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Chris Logan

A Victoria resident for over 20 years, I grew up in Halifax and studied at Dalhousie University, Concordia, and the National Theatre School. Several years in the music industry then led to an extended....

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