Road to new beginnings: Breaking down the most common types of houses in Canada
Buying a house represents the first step towards a new life, whether you are purchasing your first house, trading up to a bigger place or downsizing to a smaller property. In this blog series, we help you start this exciting new chapter in your life with some helpful information about the homebuying process.
For our second post in this series, we break down the different types of houses in Canada to help you decide what kind of dwelling could best fit your lifestyle.
What are the most common types of houses in Canada?
Recently, Statistics Canada (StatCan) revealed that investment in new residential building construction rose month-over-month in January 2022 to $14.1 billion, over half ($7.6 billion) of which went to new single-family dwellings. And as more houses enter the real estate market, choosing the right type of house for your lifestyle can be daunting.
To help you form a clearer idea of what your new home could look like, we examine Canada’s most common house types below.
The detached house
A detached house, also called a single-detached house, is a free-standing single-family residential structure that is not attached to any other dwelling except its own garage or shed. According to StatCan, a detached house should also have “open space on all sides.”
While this type of house offers the most space and privacy of any house type, it is also typically more expensive to purchase and maintain. If you have a large household and can afford the cost of ownership, this might be the ideal house type for you.
The semi-detached house
A semi-detached house is a dwelling that is attached to either the side or (less commonly) the back of another residential property. StatCan also notes that this type of house has no dwellings “either above it or below it, and the two units together have open space on all sides.”
Since this type of house is usually smaller than its detached counterparts, it tends to be less expensive to purchase and maintain, making it ideal for smaller households. However, they are also less private since you can potentially hear your neighbours depending on the material the separating wall is made from and how it was built. You may also need to contribute to the maintenance of common elements in the property, such as the roof or driveway.
A townhouse, which StatCan defines as a type of rowhouse, is part of a line of dwellings attached to each other’s sides (and sometimes, each other’s backs). Additionally, StatCan states that dwellings attached to a high-rise building can also be classified as townhouses.
While townhouses are generally smaller and less expensive than detached and semi-detached houses, they still likely have outdoor areas such as patios and yards which may be suited to the needs of small families, young couples or retirees looking to downsize from a larger house. However, keep in mind that you might also need to pay for the regular upkeep of common areas, such as walkways.
The condominium apartment
Often the smallest house type, condominium apartments are dwellings in larger residential buildings. According to StatCan, apartment units in condominium developments are owned individually while “land and common elements are held in joint ownership with others.”
While condo apartments typically have less space and privacy than other house types, owners can benefit from fewer maintenance responsibilities and may even have access to a wider range of amenities such as fitness centres and swimming pools. Overall, condo apartments are also significantly cheaper than other types of homes, so they may be well suited for first-time home buyers or downsizing retirees.
What is the typical price of each house type?
The price of each house type largely depends on the location. Additionally, realtor associations across Canada’s housing markets have different ways of tracking prices. This includes the average price, which is the average selling price of all houses in a category; the median price, which is the figure at the mid-point between the highest and lowest priced house sold in a category; and the benchmark price, which is the typical price of a given house type derived from data from a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) home price index.
Below, we look at what prices for each house type looked like in February 2022 in some of Canada’s largest housing markets.
Greater Toronto Area
The average price of a detached house in the Greater Toronto Area was $1,797,203 in February 2022, according to data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board. Meanwhile, during the same period, the average price for a semi-detached house was $1,358,415, while the average price of a townhouse was $1,121,641. Lastly, the average price of a condominium apartment was $799,966.
Greater Vancouver Area
In Greater Vancouver, the benchmark price for a detached house was $2,044,800 in February 2022, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Meanwhile, the benchmark price for a townhouse during the same period was $1,090,000, and $807,900 for a condo apartment.
Montreal Metropolitan Area
The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB) tracks the prices of single-family houses (a category that contains both detached and semi-detached houses) and condominium apartments. And according to QPARED data, the median price of a single-family house in Montreal was $550,000 in February 2022, while the median price of a condo apartment during the same period was $395,000.
Calgary Metropolitan Region
The average price of a detached house in the Calgary region was $677,931 in February 2022, according to data from the Calgary Real Estate Association. Meanwhile, the average prices of a semi-detached house, townhouse, and condo apartment during the same period were $562,319, $366,395 and $274,133, respectively.
Winnipeg Metropolitan Region
In Winnipeg, the average price of a detached house was $429,019 in February 2022, according to the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board. Meanwhile, during the same period, the average price of an attached house (which includes single-attached houses and townhouses) was $342,254 and the average price of a condo apartment was $265,682.
Whatever the house type you choose, an experienced mortgage broker will be able to guide you through the homebuying process. You can also ask them about financing options such as those offered by Home Trust when you are ready to start your journey towards a new home and a new life.
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