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Toronto is a diverse and sprawling city that offers many housing options for individuals and families alike. From historical Victorian homes to contemporary modern condos, there is a home type that can suit every homeowner’s unique needs and preferences.
One of the most significant advantages of living in Toronto is the variety of home types that cater to a range of price points, neighbourhoods, demographics, school zones, design aesthetics, and family types.
Whether you are looking for a cozy one-bedroom apartment in the heart of downtown or a spacious single-family home in a quiet residential neighbourhood, Toronto has it all. For families, there are many homes with large yards and multiple bedrooms in areas with excellent schools. At the same time, young professionals may prefer the convenience of a condo or loft in a trendy neighbourhood with easy access to transit and nightlife.
This article will explore the different home types available in Toronto and how they can cater to various needs and lifestyles. Whether you are a first-time buyer, downsizing, or expanding your family, this guide will help you navigate the Toronto real estate market and help you to find your way home.
A detached house is a standalone residential building that does not share any walls with neighbouring properties. It is a single-family home that typically sits on its own plot of land, providing residents with more privacy and independence. Detached homes in Toronto come in various sizes, designs, and styles, ranging from charming and historic homes to modern and open-concept properties. These homes often feature a yard and outdoor living areas, making them ideal for families with children or dogs (or both)!
In terms of location, detached homes in Toronto can be found in various neighbourhoods, from urban pockets such as Corktown, Trinity Bellwoods or Dufferin Grove to more residential neighbourhoods such as Davisville Village, Lawrence Park or Chaplin Estates. Depending on the location, they can often be significantly more expensive than semi-detached or townhouse properties but offer the most privacy and independence of any residential building in Toronto.
Regardless of size, location or condition, a detached house in Toronto is often considered the quintessential symbol of home ownership.
A semi-detached house is a type of residential building that shares one common wall with another. This type of building is also commonly known as a “semi” or “half house.” It typically has its own separate entrance and a small yard or garden area, but the land and walls separating it from the neighbouring house are shared.
Semi-detached houses also vary in age, size and design but typically have two or three stories and can range from small and cozy to spacious and luxurious. These homes are a popular choice for families, couples, and individuals looking for a balance between the privacy of a single-family home and the affordability of a townhouse or apartment.
The location of semi-detached houses in Toronto can range from quiet family-centric areas such as Leslieville, Playter Estates and Roncesvalles to bustling urban neighbourhoods such as Kensington, The Annex & Cabbagetown offering residents a diverse range of living options.
A row house is a type of attached residential building that is joined together with similar houses in a “row.” These homes are also commonly referred to as townhouses. Each row house unit is typically separated from the next by a common wall, with its own front and back entrances.
To note, in many of Toronto’s older row homes, it is not uncommon to find a shared attic space that spans the entire row length. A firewall is a typical safety feature associated with shared attics in row homes in the city. The firewall is designed to help contain a fire to the unit in which it starts and prevents it from spreading to other homes through the attic. It is typically made of fire-resistant materials, such as concrete or masonry, and is designed to withstand high temperatures and prevent the spread of flames.
Row houses in Toronto range in age, size and style but are generally older, smaller and more compact than detached homes, making them a popular option for first-time home buyers, young families, and urban dwellers. Despite their narrow demeanour, row houses in Toronto often offer residents the benefits of a single-family home without the huge price tag associated with a detached residence.
Row houses are typically located in densely populated urban areas and offer residents easy access to many top-shelf amenities, including public transportation, shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
In recent years, row houses have become increasingly popular in Toronto as people seek a more urban lifestyle and the “affordability” and convenience of this type of property. There are many beautiful row homes located in Riverdale, Yorkville, Summerhill & more!
A freehold townhouse is a type of attached residential building that is similar to a row house or townhouse. The ownership structure is the main difference between freehold and traditional condo townhouses. While a condominium corporation owns a traditional condo townhouse, a freehold townhouse is owned by the individual homeowner and is not part of a condominium corporation. This means that the homeowner has complete control over the property, including the ability to make alterations, renovations, and additions without the approval of a condominium board.
Freehold townhouses in Toronto can range in size, quality and design but are typically smaller and offer the convenience and affordability of an attached property. They also can feel very safe and secure as your neighbours are generally nestled in nice and close!
Freehold townhomes are often located in more urban areas and offer residents easy access to amenities, public transportation, and other city conveniences. In fact, a lot of townhomes (both freehold and condo towns) are built on infill sites.
“Infill” refers to vacant or underutilized properties within an already developed area suitable for new development or redevelopment. These sites are typically found in established neighbourhoods and can include various property types, such as vacant lots, former industrial sites, or underutilized commercial or residential properties. In recent years, infill development has become an increasingly popular strategy in Toronto for addressing the city’s growing demand for housing and the need for densification in established neighbourhoods.
Freehold townhouses are a popular option for first-time home buyers, young families, and urban dwellers looking for the benefits of a single-family home but with the convenience of a condominium or apartment.
The Junction, Mimico or Dovercourt Village are excellent places to see this type of property.
A condo townhouse is a type of attached residential building that is owned and managed by a condominium corporation. This means that the individual units are privately owned, but the common areas, such as the parking garage, storage lockers and exterior spaces, are owned and maintained by the condominium corporation.
Condo townhouses in Toronto can range in size and quality but are typically smaller and more affordable than freehold properties.
This property type is often located in urban areas and offers residents easy access to amenities, public transportation, and other lifestyle conveniences. Living in a condo townhouse in Toronto provides residents with the security of a managed community and the convenience of low-maintenance living, as many of the maintenance tasks and repairs are handled by the condominium corporation. This type of property is a popular choice for first-time home buyers, young families, and urban dwellers who are looking for the privacy of a single-family home but with the ease and security of a condominium or apartment. Hot spots for this property type include Liberty Village, Church Street Corridor and King Street West!
A soft loft is a type of residential building that offers a unique combination of industrial design elements and modern amenities. Soft lofts are often conversions of existing buildings, including former commercial buildings or warehouses that have been transformed into spacious, open-concept living spaces. They are called “soft” lofts to differentiate them from the traditional “hard” lofts that feature exposed brick, wood beams and ductwork. Soft lofts in Toronto typically feature high ceilings, large windows, raw ceilings and open floor plans, giving residents the feeling of living in a spacious and airy environment.
These properties are often located in trendy and upscale neighbourhoods and offer residents a range of amenities, including a concierge, gym facility or rooftop terrace. Living in a soft loft is a popular choice for young professionals, artists, and urban dwellers who appreciate these properties’ unique style and character. They offer a balance between the privacy and independence of a single-family home but with the swagger and security of a condominium or apartment. Trendy soft lofts can be found in King West, River City or along Carlaw Avenue in South Riverdale.
A hard loft is a type of residential building characterized by its unique, one-of-a-kind style and design. Generally, one does not replicate another. Hard lofts are often conversions of existing structures, such as old warehouses or factories, that have been transformed into character-filled living spaces. They are called “hard” lofts to differentiate them from the more modern and refined “soft” lofts. Hard lofts in Toronto typically feature exposed brick, concrete, and ductwork, giving residents the feeling of living in a raw, authentic, and unpretentious space. These properties often have high ceilings, large windows, and open floor plans, including the bedroom, making them ideal for those who appreciate the charm of a vintage building. Living in a hard loft in Toronto is a popular choice for young professionals, artists, and urban dwellers who enjoy these properties’ unique style and character. Great Toronto locations for hard lofts include Roncesvalles, Queen Street West and King Street East.
A duplex is a residential building consisting of two separate units with a common wall. Duplexes can range in size, design and condition but typically feature two self-contained suites, each with its own entrance, kitchen and living spaces. The two units can be either side-by-side or stacked on top of each other, and they can be either mirror images of each other or unique in their individual way. Duplexes are a popular option for those who are looking for a low-maintenance and affordable way to own a single-family home, as well as for investors who are looking to earn rental income.
A triplex consists of three separate units that share a common wall. Triplexes in Toronto can range in size but typically feature three self-contained suites, each with its own entrance, living spaces, and amenities. The three units can be either side-by-side or stacked on top of each other, and they can be either mirror images of each other or unique in their own way. Triplexes are a popular option for investors who are looking to earn rental income, as well as for those who are looking for a low-maintenance and affordable way to own a single-family home by supplementing their income by renting out one or two units in the building.
A purpose-built rental building is specifically designed and constructed to provide rental housing. Purpose-built rental buildings in Toronto are usually multi-unit buildings that range from low-rise to high-rise structures and can range in size from a few units to hundreds of units. These properties are typically managed by professional property management companies and offer residents a range of 5-star amenities, including swimming pools, fitness centers, 24-hour concierges, pet washing stations and root-top terraces. Purpose-built rental buildings are a popular choice for those looking for a convenient and low-maintenance living option, as well as for those looking for a more affordable alternative to home ownership. Purpose-built rental buildings are typically well-maintained and managed, providing residents with a secure and comfortable living environment. They offer a range of rental options, from studio apartments to one- and two-bedroom units, making them a popular choice for singles, couples, and families of all sizes.
Work-live spaces combine living and working spaces into one convenient location. Work-live suites in Toronto are typically designed for those who work from home or run small businesses and offer the convenience of having a home office or workspace in close proximity to one’s living quarters. These spaces can range from a single unit in a multi-unit building to a standalone structure and can be either a rental or an owned property. Work-live spaces in Toronto offer a range of amenities and features, including high-speed internet, flexible living and working spaces, convenient access to public transportation and other lifestyle luxuries. They are a popular choice for freelancers, entrepreneurs, artists, and other creative professionals who are looking for a more flexible and efficient living and work arrangement. They are also a popular choice for those who are looking to save time and money by reducing the time and expense of commuting to work. They are an excellent option for those looking for a home with a comfortable living environment and a convenient workspace all in one!
Toronto’s diverse and varied real estate market offers a wealth of options for homebuyers with different needs, lifestyles, and budgets. From single-family homes in quiet, family-friendly neighbourhoods to modern lofts in the city’s heart, there is a home for everyone in this vibrant metropolis. However, navigating the complex world of real estate can be daunting, especially for first-time homebuyers or those unfamiliar with the Toronto housing market. This is where a great real estate team can help guide you in the right direction. A professional and experienced real estate team can help you identify your needs and preferences and find residential properties that meet your criteria, budget and timelines. They can also provide valuable insights into different neighbourhoods and school zones and help you navigate the sometimes-complicated process of buying a home. With the help of a great real estate team like
Fox Marin, you can find the perfect home in Toronto that meets your unique needs and preferences. Whether you are a young professional, a growing family, or a downsizing empty-nester, there is a home in Toronto that is perfect for you. So start your search today and find your dream home in this incredible city!
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Kori Marin is a Toronto Broker & Managing Partner at Fox Marin Associates. For high-energy real estate aficionado Kori Marin, a well-lived life is achieved by maintaining an “all-in” attitude that realizes every last ounce of one’s full potential. This mindset has driven successful results in every aspect of her life – from her corporate sales and account management experience to her international travels to her years of fitness training and leadership – and is the hallmark of the exceptional work that she does on behalf of her clients in the residential real estate sector in downtown Toronto.