The building is perhaps the most evident distinction between a townhouse and a single-family dwelling. Townhouses are connected to one another, with at least one shared wall with neighboring townhouses. Single-family homes are self-contained structures that are often built on property owned by the homeowner.
Townhouses are commonly sold under names such as "twin," "triple," "quad," or "penta." They can be found anywhere from small cottages in suburban neighborhoods to large collections of units in urban centers. Although they were originally designed for use by one family, many modern townhouses are sold or rented out to several people. This can occur because they have more than one floor or unit, because they have been divided into separate rooms, or because they have been combined with other properties to create larger dwellings.
Single-family homes are usually located in rural areas where there is not enough work for everyone who wants one of their own. In cities, however, there may not be enough space for everyone who wants their own house, so developers compete with each other by offering smaller home sizes and higher densities. As a result, it is possible to find single-family homes in urban environments with two or three stories and plenty of room for cars in the driveway or garage.
Townhouses are designed to seem like somewhat smaller versions of single-family residences. Living in a townhouse provides many of the benefits of owning a home without the burdensome duties that come with home ownership. Townhouses are perfect for singles, couples, and small families. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, nearly one in five households in the United States consists of only one person.
Single people tend to enjoy the flexibility that comes with living in a townhouse rather than in an apartment building. There is no need to look for a new place to live if you make a friend or find a job closer to home. If you sell your townhouse and buy a house with a family, then you can still benefit from the reduced maintenance cost of a townhome.
Also see: Benefits of Living in a Townhouse.
A single-family home is a self-contained residential structure. Single-family homes are intended to be utilized as a single housing unit with a single owner, no shared walls, and its own property. Multi-family units, such as apartments or condos, share common areas and sometimes facilities. They may also share one or more owners.
The American Institute of Architects defines a single-family dwelling as "a house designed for and occupied by one family." AIA further states that this definition includes "mobile homes and manufactured houses if they are designed and used for living purposes." The Board of Dental Examiners of California defines a single-family home as "a building, including any associated appurtenances, such as garages, driveways, and swimming pools, that is used exclusively for living purposes."
In Canada, the term "single-family home" applies to all dwellings that are not duplexes or triplexes. In Quebec, where most new construction is regulated by the government, the only buildings allowed to have more than three storeys are single-family homes. All other buildings are required by law to be set back from the street, which prevents overdevelopment on small plots of land.
In Australia, a single-family home is defined as a residence that is not a unit in a residential complex.
The fundamental distinction between single-family and multi-family homes is the number of residences. Single-family homes have one housing unit, and multi-family homes have two to four. Despite the fact that multi-family homes feature many apartments, the property is generally owned by a single person. A house corporation is an exception to this rule - corporations are legal entities that can own real estate.
Multi-family properties can be divided up into several categories including townhouses, condos, cooperatives, and rentals.
Townhouses are large houses built adjacent to each other with common walls for shared facilities like parking lots or gardens. They're found in suburban areas where space is limited. Townhouses often have separate entrances for each residence. In Canada, townhouses are commonly found in places like Barrie or Whitby where land is expensive.
Condos are small residential units in a building that share common facilities like kitchens and bathrooms. They're found in urban areas where space is at a premium. Condos can be stand-alone structures or attached dwellings like apartments or row houses.
Cooperatives are communities where residents own shares in a company that owns buildings and their common areas. The company manages the buildings and any profits are distributed among shareholders. These properties are most common in Canada where people want to get involved in their community but don't want to deal with the hassle of owning their own property.