Townhouse in Canada versus Single Family Homes

Canadian real estate listings are crowded with semi-detached homes, detached houses and townhouses, so how are you supposed to decide which one works best for you. There are some things to consider when choosing between a townhouse and a single family home. Some people want charm and others want a more modern look. Those with an aptitude for gardening will want a big yard, whereas others don’t like getting their hands dirty.

Choosing a home will centre on your personal preferences and lifestyle needs and taste. Even with this, the choice can still be a tough one. There are some key points to remember when choosing a house that will hopefully help the decision-making process.

Canadian Townhouses

There are some benefits to living in a townhouse.

Low maintenance

Most townhouses are under the management of a Homeowners Association (HA). They typically take responsibility for all exterior maintenance which includes landscaping, repairs, snow removal and general, cosmetic upkeep of the property.

Lower Cost

Townhouses are less expensive than detached houses. Even though they are lower in price, they often include upgrades features like granite counter tops, hardwood floors and steel appliances.


Your neighbours are nearby which adds a sense of security. In the event you have to go out of town, it is comforting to know that your neighbours can keep an eye on your place.


Most townhomes will have amenities on their property such as swimming pools, parks, tennis courts or possibly more. The Homeowners Association takes care of the maintenance of all these facilities. Your fees allow you access to all of them during the time you live there.

There are also unique factors to consider.


Primarily these homes have shared walls, so you are in fact very close to your neighbours. This is important to consider if you often entertain or play loud music. It is also worth considering if these are things you do not want your neighbours doing.


Most townhouse communities have a uniform look among the units. The yards which are kept up by the HA will also be very similar in appearance. This makes their upkeep of the properties simple. They also usually have to place restrictions on changes that you are allowed to make on the exterior.


If you have a large amount of stuff collected over the years, it is wise to remember that townhouses usually do not have a significant amount of storage space. You would most likely have to look into renting a storage locker.


Backyard space in townhouse communities is typically small, due to the number of units on the property. You are not only very close to your neighbour, which can infringe on privacy, but you may also reconsider this option if you have a dog or like large spaces.

Single Family Homes

The reasons below are reasons that a single family home would be the right fit for you.

Higher Re-Sale Value

As reported by the Canadian Real Estate Association, average prices for homes have increased. By renovating and modifying your home, you can increase its value as special additions make strong selling features. You can also enhance the yard and exterior features to improve curb-appeal and value.


A space of your own is about as private as you can get. Once you purchase a single family home, you own the land. You can make any additions or changes to it as you see fit, including erecting a fence to provide further privacy.


With a detached home, you are not limited to spaces for entertaining or in the event your family grows. The property usually includes a decent size of land which can accommodate patios, decks, BBQ pits and maybe even a pool, all perfect for entertaining.


Many houses were built long ago; decades and potentially even centuries. This brings a unique sense of history and character to a house that you don’t find in newer community developments. You can have a house with its own unique appeal rather than being mirror images of the houses on either side of you.

There are, however, some important things to consider with buying a home, that may factor heavily into your decision-making process.

Repair Costs

If you buy an older style home, you should expect to have repaired. Older houses will require upkeep and repairs regarding common problems like drafty windows, poor insulation and weathered roof shingles. Once you own the house any heating, electric, plumbing or exterior repairs are your responsibility.

General Maintenance

As previously stated, once you own a detached house you are responsible for it. This includes not only repairs but also snow removal, general upkeep and gardening.

Living Space

Older homes may have that unique charm, but they may not support today’s way of life. It was common for houses to be built with smaller and oddly located bathrooms as well as tine kitchens. You need to be sure that you are okay with the layout of the home first. The newer buildings, like townhouses, have kitchen islands and en-suite bathrooms, so if you like these, then an older detached house may not be for you.

Even when you have an idea of whether you want a townhouse or single family home, it is still difficult to find something matching your price range and location. Extensive research is required to make an informed decision, and it can be daunting.

While the lists above provide a good starting place, there are more factors to consider. You need to find what matters to you and your personal preferences and conduct research accordingly. It is also a good idea to consult local experts who know the neighbourhood you are interested in.