Mortgage Basics #Home Buying #Real Estate

Types of Houses in Canada


The word home has a distinct meaning for everyone. Canada is home to a diverse range of property types that have catered to the unique needs of individuals and families for decades. From detached houses to downtown condos, here are the most popular types of housing found from Ontario to British Columbia, and everywhere in-between.


Key Takeaways

  • Traditionally, Canada is home to a handful of popular home types, including detached, semi-detached, condos, and townhomes.
  • Homeowners choose their home based on a combination of factors like location, space, ability to renovate, and aesthetics.
  • The average price of a home in Canada was $746,146 in April 2022, a 6% decrease from March 2022.

Detached

The word ‘detached’ means that the house stands alone, sharing no walls with other properties. Due to their space, privacy, and size, detached houses are usually more expensive than other housing types in Canada. As an owner, you’re not only responsible for the maintenance of the property and any surrounding land you own, you’ll also probably have to pay more in property taxes, since they are based on property values. However, the sense of ownership you get from owning the entire building you live in is for many the ultimate goal when buying a house. Additionally, detached houses often have a front and/or back yard, making them ideal for families. 

Semi-detached

Semi-detached houses share one common wall with another property. Typically, you’ll find semi-detached houses at the end of a row of terraced houses or townhomes, or as single building split down the middle by one wall. 

Semi-detached units, also known as ‘semis’, generally come with a private yard with a shared fence. Semi-detached houses are a fairly popular housing type in Canada, since they have relatively good privacy and space, with fewer direct neighbors than condos or plexes.

Townhouses

Townhouses, or townhomes, are rows of houses that share walls on either side with other neighbors. However, there are some differences in the way people describe townhomes. Townhouses at the end of a row, for instance, could be considered semi-detached homes too, since they only share one common wall with another household. 

Townhomes sometimes come with outdoor yard spaces or patios, and even sub-ground level garages. Townhomes are popular based on their affordability, style, location (often found closer to downtown), and flexibility. 

Condos

Condos, short for condominiums, are apartment units usually found in multi-unit buildings or high-rises. Condos are unique in that a condo corporation owns and maintains the building’s common areas and exterior, but residents will own what is inside their suite. As a condo owner, you’re able to make changes to the layout of your space as long as it doesn’t interfere with the building’s structural integrity. Yes, this includes knocking down or putting up walls. 

While condos are among the more affordable property types in Canada, there are some things to be aware of when looking to buy one. Unless you’re on your building’s condo board, you will have very little control over the other tenants in the building as a resident, or the age and upkeep of the building. You’ll also have to pay condo fees, which can be anywhere between $0.30/sq.ft – $0.75/sq.ft a month in Canada. These are used for the repair and maintenance of a condo and are pooled together with every other resident’s fees. If you’re looking to buy a condo, make sure you do your research and find a reputable property group or seller within a good quality building. You can also consider joining your condo board and influencing the upkeep and clientele within your condo building that way. 

Condo Townhomes

Condo townhomes differ from regular townhomes since they’re owned by a condo corporation, who manage and own any exterior elements of the buildings. Residents pay monthly fees, as with a typical condo, for the maintenance of the building, yards, and shared amenities. Condo townhomes can also have multiple units stacked on top of each other, as opposed to tenants owning every floor within the portion of a building.

Bungalows

Bungalows are a detached home generally made up of one floor, and potentially a basement level. Bungalows are single floor buildings on ground level only. While increasingly less common than other types of new-build homes in Canada, bungalows are still prevalent across the country, especially in more rural areas. While many homeowners prefer split-level or multi-storey houses, bungalows do offer the advantage of providing an affordable detached home with the potential for more outdoor space than townhomes or other property styles. Acreages, for example, often include a bungalow as the primary residence building.

Split-level

Split-level homes are a rather unique property type in Canada. While split-levels are rarely built as new homes nowadays, they can still be found across the country, and are seeing a resurgence in popularity as of late. Split levels come in many shapes and sizes, with different layouts. As a general rule, split levels include a main floor spread across different levels, e.g. with interior steps. Split levels are designed to maximize vertical space, and can include common features like low-pitched roofs, integrated garages, large living areas and family rooms, and a healthy amount of yard and patio space.

Duplex, Triplex, Fourplex

A duplex is a building or house containing two apartments; a triplex three, a fourplex four. There’s some debate as to whether a duplex and semi-detached home are the same thing in Canada. While some describe semi-detached houses as side-by-side duplexes, others see duplexes strictly as a building containing two suites stacked one on top of another. Ultimately, a plex property is a building containing two, three, or four homes, each with their own separate entrance. The homes themselves may have multiple floors. These buildings can be owned by one, or many owners, who can choose to occupy or rent out their homes. Plex properties are becoming rarer as new-builds in the country. 

Average Home Prices in Canada

April 2022 saw the average price of a Canadian home sit at $746,146, a year-on-year increase of 7%. Although the average home price has gone up by over $50,000 since April 2021, it has dropped by almost as much in just one month: the average price of a home in March 2022 was $796,068. Could this be the beginning of a downturn in housing prices, after two years of record price increases?

Average Home Prices in Canada’s 10 Largest Cities*
CityPopulationAverage Home Price April 2022
Toronto2,794,356$1,254,436
Montréal1,762,949$608,265
Calgary1,306,784$532,093
Ottawa1,017,449$740,840
Edmonton1,010,899$417,465
Winnipeg749,607$401,047
Mississauga717,961$1,170,211
Vancouver662,248$1,374,500
Brampton656,480$1,166,952
Hamilton569,353$1,013,081

*According to Statistics Canada’s 2021 Census

If you’re looking to buy a home in Canada, the average price varies depending on the city you choose. The Toronto housing market, and Vancouver’s housing market, for example, are two of the most expensive places to buy real estate, across all residential categories. Alberta has two stand out markets in Calgary and Edmonton, which are some of the most affordable major cities to buy any property type in Canada. 

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Getting a Mortgage to Finance Your Home

For most Canadians, getting a mortgage is the best way to finance buying a home. With a mortgage, you generally save up enough for a downpayment, and receive a loan for the remaining value of the home. A mortgage loan accrues interest every year, typically has a term of 5 years, and a much longer amortization period. By the end of this period, both a mortgage’s principal and interest should have been paid off. 

In Canada, there are a number of different lenders, types of lenders, and mortgage solutions. At nesto, we not only help you compare the best rates available in an instant, we also lend directly. The process to get a mortgage in Canada involves finding the right lender for your situation. Different lenders will have their own lending criteria, and some may be more specific or strict than others. For A-lenders, you will need to provide some kind of proof of income and employment, evidence of your existing debt to income ratio, and show that you have solid credit. There are also a number of documents needed to apply for a mortgage. In some cases, it’s also possible to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you’ve actually settled on a specific property. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which home type is most popular?

Detached houses are the most popular kind of home in Canada, due to their space, privacy and the control an owner has over structural and aesthetic decisions. Unlike condos and duplexes, detached houses are probably the only kind of home where an owner has a more or less complete say over the changes they want to make to their property (assuming they have the required permits to do so). 

How many types of homes are there?

Since people describe them in different ways, it’s difficult to pin down exactly the number of home types. In general, Canadians are most familiar with 6 or 7 traditional house types: detached, semi-detached, condos, townhouses, duplexes, split-levels, and bungalows. However, there are other types of homes. For example, tiny homes are becoming increasingly popular, as the cost of living increases, while outdoor space and location become bigger priorities for homeowners.

Can you get a mortgage for every home type?

It’s possible to get a mortgage for most conventional property types, as long as you meet the approval criteria. There are speciality lenders for things like boat and marine loans, which could technically be used as homes, but do not qualify for conventional mortgages. Similarly, if you’re planning on building a brand new home, you’ll need to apply for a construction loan. 

Final Thoughts

Canadians have a number of home types to pick from in 2022, each with their own pros and cons. Ultimately, the kind of home you want to buy depends on your situation and preferences. If you’re looking to get a mortgage for any of the most common types of home in Canada, nesto can help you compare the best rates, or lend directly. Whether you’re looking for a condo in the city or a house in the suburbs, we can help. Get in touch with a trained mortgage professional today to discuss your goals, and take the next step to buying the right home for you.


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