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Low-rise and high-density condominiums located in downtown Toronto.

Before beginning your search for accommodation in Canada, it’s helpful to understand the different types of houses that you can rent or buy. With many types to choose from, it might seem difficult to make a decision. Often, the type of house in Canada that you select comes down to factors such as your personal preferences, affordability, location, and the features that each type can provide you. For example, a condominium is ideal for people who have a busy lifestyle and would prefer to avoid the costly property maintenance of a home. Or, if you have a young family, you may prefer a larger house with a backyard for your children. With different types of housing in Canada, it allows you to select the one that best suits your lifestyle and needs.

Six Main Types of Housing Accommodation in Canada

Each type of housing has unique features that appeal to people at different stages of life. However, with a range of housing options, you can select the type that best meets your needs and budget while adapting to life in Canada.

While some newcomers arrive in Canada prepared to buy a home, this involves paying the mortgage as well as property taxes and utilities such as electricity, gas, and water. Bylaws are local municipal rules and regulations that vary across Canada. You are responsible for the care and maintenance of your property and must follow local bylaws. Examples of bylaws usually include residential property standards to ensure proper home maintenance.

Renting any of these types of housing is a great option that allows you more flexibility than committing to homeownership.

1. Condominiums

Modern condominiums in downtown Vancouver. This type of housing can range in size from bachelor units to 2 and 3-bedroom units.
Ranging in size, condominiums offer bachelor, two, and three-bedroom units

Condominiums (or condos) are a form of ownership that can apply to almost all types of housing. While condominiums are generally found in apartment buildings, other types of properties, for example, townhouses, may also have a condo ownership model. You own the unit, or “condo”, but you do not own the land it is built on or any common space outside your unit.

Owning a condo is often more affordable than buying a detached home which is a top reason why they appeal to buyers. In addition, you have access to on-site amenities such as a swimming pool, fitness room, party room, and guest suites.

With a condo, you pay monthly fees to maintain indoor and outdoor common areas shared by the condo owners, including parking areas, elevators, entrances, and any recreational facilities. Many condos also have a concierge and provide 24-hour security. Monthly fees can vary and are usually based on the square footage of your unit. You pay condo fees in addition to your mortgage payments. If you rent a condo, these fees are usually included in your monthly rent.

This type of housing appeals to people who want a secure, residential setting without the required responsibilities of maintaining a home and yard.

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2. Single-Detached Housing Type

A detached home provides more space than most apartments or condos.

A single-detached house stands on its own and tends to be the most expensive type of home to purchase due to the land costs. Detached homes usually provide more space than most apartments or condos and will often have a backyard, parking, and patio space. This type of housing appeals to people with growing families and multi-generational families because of its size, space, and privacy that it provides.

When you purchase this type of home, you own the house and the land it’s on. Owning a detached home can be quite expensive especially when the house needs repairs or maintenance and you have to pay for it yourself. Upon deciding to purchase a home, it’s smart to build an emergency fund to deal with unexpected or costly repairs.

Homeowners must also pay the monthly bills for water and heat, as well as other bills such as telephone, cable, and internet. As a homeowner, you are free to make renovations to the house, both inside and out. But, you have to obey local bylaws and apply for building permits to renovate the structure of the home.

You can also rent a detached home. Renting a detached home can provide you with the benefits of more space without having to spend time or money to make any necessary repairs. The homeowner will incur the home repair costs.

The cost to rent or purchase a detached home is based on local real estate markets which vary across Canada, and the size of the home. In Canada, you can often find basement apartments for rent in detached or semi-detached homes. Homeowners frequently rent out basement space for short-term or long-term rentals while they occupy the main levels of the house.

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3. Semi-detached Housing Type

Semi-detached homes pictured on a residential street. This type of housing is usually less expensive than single-detached homes.
Semi-detached homes are usually more affordable than single-detached homes.

This is a home joined to another on one side, but not attached to any other dwelling or structure. Owners are only responsible for the care and upkeep of their own side, just like a single-detached house. When you own a semi-detached home, you own your side of the property, including the land it is on.

Semi-detached houses appeal to people who want to own their own house as well as the land it is on. Semi-detached houses are usually less expensive than fully detached houses, although, like all real estate, this depends on the area.

If you’re thinking of buying this type of housing, it is usually more affordable than a single-detached home. However, it may offer less privacy. Whether you want to rent or buy a home, it’s always smart to find an experienced real estate agent to guide you through the process.

4. Townhouse

Townhouses located on an urban street with a condominium building in the background.
Townhouses often have a private backyard or a ground-level or roof-top patio.

Another type of house in Canada is a townhouse. A townhouse is a unit that is attached to other housing units in a row. In each unit, you share a wall on either side with the people who live beside you. Often, especially in cities, there may also be a smaller unit above each townhouse, so there could also be someone living above you or below you. Townhouses (sometimes called row houses) are usually two or three levels tall and each level is called a storey.

With a townhouse, you may have a private backyard, or ground-level or roof-top patio. Townhouses appeal to people who want some involvement when it comes to maintaining their own property.

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5. Duplex or Triplex Housing Type

A duplex or triplex is a building that is divided into multiple units. Like semi-detached houses, each household has its separate entrance and is responsible for the care of its own unit. Typically, you would buy the entire property and rent a unit to help offset your mortgage payments. Types of homes that are ‘duplexed’ or divided into two or more separate living units may be detached homes, semi-detached, or even row houses.

6. Rooms for Rent

In Canada, it’s common for homeowners to rent out rooms within their homes and share accommodation. This can provide an affordable housing option for newcomers, especially when you are managing your budget.

When considering your housing options in Canada, consider the different features that each option offers. With a range of housing types, you can select the one that best meets your budget, lifestyle, and preferences.