Are you looking to buy a townhouse in the Greater Toronto/Hamilton area? This guide will teach you everything you need to know!
Definition: In Canada, the term townhouse and townhome are interchangeable and refer to a single-family home that shares walls with other independently-owned homes in a purpose-built complex. Townhouses differ from semi-detached homes, attached houses, and row houses in that, while they all share walls, semi-detached, attached, and rowhouses have no legal or financial link with their neighbors and no physical elements in common.
Types: Townhomes in the GTA are classified into two types: freehold and condominium townhouses (which are more common in Toronto)
Freehold townhouse: From a legal and financial standpoint, a freehold townhouse is identical to a typical single-family home. The owner is in charge of all upkeep, including the roof, windows, electrical system, and plumbing, and is the legal and financial owner of both the home and the land on which it is built.
Townhouse condominiums: are a type of condominium in which owners own a portion of the condominium organization rather than any real estate. Owners of condo townhomes pay monthly maintenance fees to cover the costs of shared amenities, such as water, sewage, and trash removal. A portion of those fees is utilized to create a reserve fund, which is used for more extensive upkeep and renovations of the facility. Condominium townhouse owners are only accountable for upkeep of the interior of the home.
Stacked townhouse: is a grouping of two or more separately owned townhouses that are built on top of one another. In Toronto, the first townhouse in the stack is frequently made up of the main level and basement, with the second and third floors forming a separate property. Each is individually owned and has a guarded, private entrance into the house.
How Much Does a Townhouse cost?
In the Greater Toronto Area, townhouses are often more expensive than condominium apartments and more affordable than single-family homes.
Prices of Townhouses in the Greater Toronto Area
Townhouses are less expensive than detached or semi-detached homes. In fact, the typical condo townhouse sold in Toronto in July 2020 was:
- 53% less expensive than a detached house (approximately $816,000 less expensive).
- 39% less expensive than a semi-detached home ($456,000 less expensive)
Condominium Townhouse Prices (July 2022)
|Greater Toronto Area (GTA)||$747,216|
Freehold Townhouse Prices (July 2022)
|Greater Toronto Area (GTA)||$1,028,977|
If you’re purchasing a townhouse, you’ll need to pay for closing fees. This will include:
- Ontario Land Transfer Tax
- Toronto Land Transfer Tax (if you’re buying in the 416)
- Legal Fees
Be prepared to pay:
- Home insurance
- Property taxes
- Maintenance fees (for condo towns)
- Water/garbage/sewage (for freeholds)
- Repairs/renovations (as required)
Living in a Condominium Townhouse: Pros and Cons
- Affordability – Townhouses are typically less expensive than standard residences.
- Lower maintenance costs than condos – Because townhouses often feature fewer amenities, services, and full-time personnel such as a concierge, townhouse condo maintenance rates are typically lower than condo apartment expenses. It is fairly uncommon for townhouse maintenance fees to be half the price of condo apartment rates.
- Location – Townhomes in Toronto are typically located in prime residential areas near schools and amenities, and because they are less expensive than ordinary houses, you may definitely afford to live in a better neighborhood than you would otherwise be able to.
- Size and space – In the Greater Toronto Area, townhouses are often larger than condominium apartments.
- Less Maintenance – The condo corporation will frequently handle continuous maintenance that benefits all owners, such as snow removal, annual furnace maintenance, window cleaning, and planting in common areas.
- Outdoor Space – Private ground floor or rooftop terraces are common in Toronto municipalities (or both). Barbecues are frequently permitted, unlike in most condo apartment buildings (propane tanks cannot be handled in elevators).
- Security – Many GTA townhouse developments have security officers on duty at night.
- Lower Heating Bills – You can thank your neighbors for helping to insulate your home and minimize heat loss!
- Amenities – Many Toronto townhouses are part of a larger condominium apartment complex with shared gyms, party areas, or pools. While this increases your monthly maintenance costs, it can also improve your lifestyle.
- Parking – The majority of condo townhouses in the GTA include private parking, either in a shared parking garage or in a garage attached to the residence.
- Neighbors! A stacked townhouse may have people above, below, to the left, and to the right of the unit. Pay close attention to noise transfer and soundproofing when purchasing a townhouse.
- Rules and Pet Restrictions – Condo townhouses have restrictions and bylaws that must be followed; these rules may dictate the color of your window coverings, what you can store on your balcony or terrace, and how many pets you can have. In order to sustain property values, you can’t just decide to put up solar panels or a metal roof; the complex’s overall aesthetic must be harmonious.
- Maintenance Fees – Even while townhouse maintenance costs are typically less than those for condominium apartments, you still have to pay them on a regular basis.
- So many stairs – Townhouses can have a lot of stairs since they are frequently vertical rather than horizontal. In Toronto, there are many three and four-storey townhouses.
Top Tips for Buying a Townhouse for Sale
Don’t forget these things:
- The townhouse’s placement within the complex influences the pricing and may impact your enjoyment of the property. Pay close attention to what’s around you.
- When looking for a home, keep an ear out for sounds coming from other units and keep an eye out for how active the communal areas are.
- If the parking place is in a communal parking garage, especially, make sure to check it out.
- You should think about getting a home inspection, especially if you’re buying a freehold or an older condo unit (where you often own the furnace, air conditioning and other systems).
- If you are purchasing a condominium-townhouse, you must have your lawyer check the status certificate (it contains the financial and legal health of the corporation). The certificate of status will also assist you in understanding how maintenance payments have evolved over time (and whether any increases are planned).
- Read the regulations and by-laws thoroughly to ensure you understand the limitations and expectations.
- Inquire about Kitec plumbing if it was built between 1995 and 2007. If the device has Kitec, it probably needs to be replaced.
- A townhouse’s value is calculated by comparing it to recently sold comparable units in the area. Your REALTOR will modify the per square foot cost of such apartments to account for the differences. End-apartments, for example, are more expensive because they have just one attached neighbor; ideal sites in the complex are more valuable than units adjacent to train tracks or on a busy roadway.
- Townhouses differ greatly in terms of quality and construction; they are not all made equal. Do your research and confirm that the REALTOR you’re working with is knowledgeable about the complexes you’re considering.