By Mandy Chen
Housing in Australia can be expensive, especially in capital cities. Nevertheless, there are many different dwelling types to choose from in the country, depending on your lifestyle preferences and budget. The top 6 types of Australian dwellings are stand-alone houses, terraces, semi-detached, duplex, townhouses and apartment units. We will be going into detail about what makes each type unique; to give you a better idea for the right choice that suits your needs. It is important to know that dwelling definitions change from state to state and council to council.
These are some of the common housing types in Australia;
1. Stand-alone house
This type of dwelling is similar to a Bungalow. Stand-alone dwelling buyers own the land and can build any form of housing within its boundaries, as long as it does not violate any regulations. Land size usually varies depending on the distances, locations and the price often diminishes from the outer to the middle ring suburbs. A stand-alone house can be knocked down, renovated or extended, provided it complies with council regulations. The dwelling types are a popular choice among families with younger children as they usually have more accommodation and garden space. However owners will need to pay for higher land rates (due to the bigger plot of land), the build-up size usually depends on the land sizes and they can build a single storey or double-storey.
A large number of terraced houses were built in the inner suburbs of large Australian cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne. These dwellings were introduced to Australia in the 19th century where people were striving for elegance and sophistication, adapting to the opulent architectural styles of homes in London and Paris. Built near the Central Business Districts of Australia’s major cities, many terrace houses today are highly sought after dwellings in the real estate market with prices are relatively high.
Older terraces are being renovated due to their location, accessibility to amenities and low maintenance. Modernised terrace types are making their way into master-planned communities, ranging from single to four storeys in height, two to four bedrooms and front and back gardens or courtyards.
A semi-detached house is a single-family housing sharing a common wall with the house next to it. The name distinguishes this dwelling style from detached houses, with no shared walls. The dwellings give you more privacy than an apartment of a townhouse but less maintenance than a house. The price can be higher in premium suburbs where especially land is scarce and demand is high.
In Australia, a duplex is often considered a residential building containing two homes that share a common central wall. As such they are usually a mirror image of each other in layout. A duplex house plan has two living units attached, either next to each other as townhouses or beside each other, on an upper and lower level like apartments. They can be on a single title or two titles, allowing each dwelling to be individually owned and sold. Duplexes usually require a building insurance policy that covers both homes.
Because they require less land than two stand-alone homes, duplexes are getting popular for investors as it will drive up to two rental incomes incomparable with two detached houses, but at a lower land cost. Also, some investors will reserve one floor for their use and rent out another floor. There’s only one neighbour to consult when planning changes and usually a decent backyard for pets and play. Such a plan requires local council approval.
A townhouse in Australia is a type of terraced housing with a smaller footprint and multiple floors. These dwellings are commonly found in the suburbs of major cities. In most cases, an old house on a large block of land is demolished and replaced by a short row of townhouses. These types of housing are considered more affordable and a better choice in comparison to apartments. There are more townhouses in development in prime suburbs where houses are becoming expensive and the land is scarce.
These dwellings come with 2 to 3 storey layouts where one floor serves as the living and dining rooms, another for bedrooms, a courtyard for outdoor dining and a garage for parking. Typically a townhouse is under a Strata title; where you need to pay annual levies to a body corporate that takes care of common property maintenance such as access way, landscaped areas, public corridors, building structures and others. This type of investment favours smaller families who are upgrading from apartments and prefer to stay in landed prime areas or the city.
These are sometimes called “flats” Down Under, which range from “studios” or “studio flats” to one-bedrooms or even four to five bedrooms. Units can be described as large apartments that are separated but built into blocks. Whether it’s a luxury or mid-range condominium, it is still called apartment/unit.
These housings are situated everywhere in the CBD, inner-city or suburbs where land is scarce. There are some high-rise apartments with full facilities whereby the body corporate is high; some are low density with no facilities offered and the body corporate is less pricey.
This is a good option for anyone who cannot afford to purchase an entire house, only requires limited space, and wants to be close to amenities. These dwellings tend to offer better security, amenities and facilities such as gym, swimming pools and require less maintenance as compared to a house.
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