Row House vs Townhouse: What's the Difference?

When choosing your perfect home, understanding the distinctions between row house and townhouse is crucial.

A row house is typically narrow, up to five stories, designed in a uniform row with a common façade. They share common walls on both sides with other units and often lack front and back yard space.

In contrast, townhouses are broader and might span multiple floors, often part of planned unit developments with homeowners associations, and they tend to offer more yard space and privacy. They share at least one common wall with another unit but provide the essence of single-family homes.

Each has unique charm, challenges, and community implications, particularly in thriving BC communities like Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, and Fort St John.

Understanding Row Houses: A Historical Perspective

Row houses, often called row homes or terraced houses, have been around since the Industrial Revolution. Originating in Europe, these dwellings were an economical solution to house workers. They are built in a uniform line with shared walls between each unit, creating a continuous row without any space between them.

Common Characteristics of Row Houses

Shared Structural Traits: Row houses usually share a common façade, creating a symmetrical and uniform look along the street. This architectural style not only represents unity but also reflects the history and character of a city.

Limited Outdoor Spaces: These structures often have limited yard space, with small backyards or patios, if any. The focus is on efficient, communal living, maximizing space where land is at a premium in bustling cities.

Community Living: Row houses promote a sense of community. Proximity to neighbours, shared walls, and common areas foster interactions, making it easy to form tight-knit housing communities within the larger urban context.

Diving into the World of Townhouses

Townhouses, or townhomes, are multi-story structures attached to other units via one or more walls. They offer more space than row houses indoors and outdoors and are part of planned developments, sometimes featuring amenities like security, maintenance, and recreational spaces managed by homeowners associations.

The Allure of Space and Privacy

Yard Space: Unlike row houses, townhouses generally come with their front and back yards. While these outdoor spaces are not necessarily expansive, they offer a valuable private area for residents, particularly appealing to families or pet owners.

Design and Style Variations: Townhouses don't always follow the uniform row appearance. They might have different colours, styles, or facades, even within the same development. This variety allows homeowners to enjoy a sense of individuality while still being part of a community.

Homeowners Associations and Amenities: Being part of planned unit developments, townhouse communities often include shared amenities like parks, playgrounds, and pools, all managed by the community's homeowners association. These perks enhance the living experience beyond the individual unit, contributing to a higher quality of life.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Your Decision

Lifestyle and Practical Considerations

Deciding between a row house and a townhouse often depends on personal preferences and lifestyle needs. Do you value having more outdoor space, or are you attracted to these residences' historical character and urban charm? Consider the trade-offs:

Space vs. Community: Townhouses offer more space, which might be preferable for families needing extra rooms or outdoor areas for children or pets. On the other hand, row houses provide a unique, close-knit neighbourhood feel, essential for those who thrive in social settings.

Maintenance and Fees: With townhouses, be prepared for homeowners association fees covering community amenities and services. Row houses might not have these additional costs, but consider the potential for higher maintenance due to their age and historical features.

Customization and Rules: Townhouse communities often have regulations about exterior changes to maintain a cohesive neighbourhood look. In contrast, row houses, particularly those not part of an association, might offer more freedom for customization.

Financial Implications

It's vital to consider the financial aspects of your decision. Townhouses in developments with extensive amenities might have higher monthly expenses due to association fees. In contrast, row houses might present more upfront renovation costs or maintenance over time due to their historic nature.

It's also wise to consider the property values in your chosen area. In some cities and neighbourhoods, these residences' charm and historical significance have made them highly sought after, potentially driving up costs. Conversely, newer townhouse developments might offer modern amenities at a more approachable price point.

Making Your Choice: Row House or Townhouse?

In the journey of homeownership, knowledge and preferences lead the way. Whether you find the community allure of row houses irresistible or the modern conveniences of townhouses appealing, your satisfaction with your choice will connect deeply with your lifestyle needs, financial situation, and future goals.

However, navigating these options doesn't have to be a journey you take alone. The real estate landscape can be complex, but finding your perfect home—be it the row house's charm or a townhouse's convenience—becomes simpler with a trusted partner by your side.

Discovering Your Dream Home with

At Loyal Homes, we understand that your home is more than just a property. It's where life unfolds and memories are made. Our team is dedicated to simplifying your search in British Columbia, offering an experience grounded in trust, personalized service, and local expertise.

Ready to explore the row houses' quaint streets or the inviting communities of townhouses in British Columbia? Perhaps you're looking to sell and value your unique space. We're here to guide every step with care, providing insights that align with your aspirations.

Start your personalized home journey with us, explore a free home valuation, or simply reach out for a conversation. Your ideal home awaits, and it's our pleasure to bring you closer to that dream.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Rowhouse the Same as a Townhouse?

No, they're different. A row house shares walls on both sides with other units and follows a uniform architectural style, while a townhouse is generally attached to only one other unit and can have varying architectural designs. This distinction is essential for potential homeowners to consider, depending on their style, community, and property layout preferences.

What Are the Disadvantages of Row Housing?

Row houses often have limited yard space, less privacy due to shared walls, and may lack individuality in architectural design. However, they are sought after for their sense of community and often more affordable pricing compared to detached homes, which is a significant consideration for buyers.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Townhouse?

Potential downsides include homeowners association fees, proximity to neighbours (less privacy), and restrictions on property modifications. However, many individuals find the trade-off acceptable due to benefits such as shared amenities, maintenance services, and a sense of community.

What Is a Row House in Canada?

In Canada, a row house is a residential unit part of a series of similar units that share common walls and have a continuous façade. These properties are prevalent in urban areas, offering a blend of communal and independent living ideal for city life.

Why Is It Called a Row House?

It's called a "row house" because of the layout, where houses are built in a line or "row," connected by shared walls. The design is historically significant, dating back to the Industrial Revolution, and is a space-efficient solution in crowded urban settings.

What Is the Difference Between a Condo Townhouse and a Row Townhouse?

A condo townhouse is typically part of a larger complex with shared amenities and is subject to condo fees. In contrast, a row townhouse refers more to the architectural style and does not imply any specific ownership structure. Understanding these differences is crucial for potential buyers to align their living situation with their financial and lifestyle needs.

What Is the Difference Between a Row and a Stacked Townhouse?

Row townhouses are side-by-side, sharing side walls. Stacked townhouses are multi-floor units where each unit's footprint occupies a different level, similar to apartments stacked vertically. This design difference impacts privacy, noise levels, and the overall living experience, influencing buyers' choices based on their comfort and preferences.

What Is the Difference Between a Row House and a Duplex?

A duplex is a single building containing two separate living units, divided by a firewall, while a row house is one of many similar, adjoining houses. Duplexes often allow for more privacy and flexibility regarding rental income possibilities, an important factor for investment-minded buyers.


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