Characteristics and styles of terrace houses
A terrace house (also known as a ‘terraced house’) is called a townhouse
in North America and South Africa, and it refers to a style of
medium-density housing that originated in Europe in the 16th
century. Their other common name is ‘row houses’ (especially in
India and some parts of the USA), which makes more sense, seeing as
it’s a row of identical or mirror-image houses that share side
A terrific example is
the “Painted Ladies” located in San Francisco, flaunting their
similar architectural styles and eye-catching colours side by side.
In South Africa, it is
not uncommon to find a complex and estate with townhouses or flats
designed in this style, where two or more units share side walls.
Style wise, terraced
houses or townhouses can be in any design imaginable, depending on
the complex in which they are situated. The most common styles to be
found in South African complexes and estates are usually modern,
contemporary and rustic. In the case of rustic, townhouse complexes
flaunt neutral/earthy colour schemes as well as thatched roofing, and
the style is usually mirrored in the estate’s garden design, as
well as its available amenities (such as the swimming pool, if
applicable, and parks).
Pros and cons of
The basic idea of
acquiring a terraced house is to save the owner the extra costs of
maintenance and upkeep while also providing recreational and other
amenities for which costs are shared by a homeowners association. But
before you jump on the bandwagon and purchase yourself a terraced
house in a neat estate, take both pros and cons into consideration:
The initial purchasing
price of a townhouse/terraced house is generally lower than that of a
similar-sized free-standing home. It’s also not uncommon to be
presented with a discount when looking for a terraced house, as a lot
of developers offer discounts in order to sell as many units as
possible as soon as construction is completed.
The maintenance costs
of the ‘common areas’ of a townhouse complex, such as the lawns,
gardens, parking spaces and picnic areas, are shared by terraced
house developments. The homeowners association contracts this work to
outside firms that specialise in grounds maintenance, thereby saving
owners the trouble of carrying out the work themselves.
A lot of owners of
terraced houses purchase them simply for the sake of getting to use
the available amenities in the complex, such as the swimming pool(s)
and tennis courts. In addition, there may be extra parking areas for
guests to use, as well as meeting rooms (or clubhouses) available for
You should know that to
live in a townhouse complex means having less privacy than living in
a free-standing house in a suburban neighbourhood, as the units are
built in groups or rows where the homes share common walls and/or
roofs. As a result, noise levels may become an issue, and the density
of the development will be much higher than in a neighbourhood of single-family homes.
Bear in mind that
living in a townhouse complex (regardless of whether you are renting
or buying) also enforces the estate’s rules and regulations upon
you, such as speed restrictions, the washing and parking of motor
vehicles, and/or reducing all noise levels after a certain prescribed
time at night.
In terms of purchasing
property as a form of investment, housing units in a security complex
can be a more financially sound decision. As terraced houses are all
situated within the same security walls, they are often reported as
being better priced.
Another crucial factor
should be kept in mind: safety. Residing in a townhouse in a security
complex is meant to offer more safety, with all units enclosed by
security fencing and guards monitoring entrants into the complex –
a definite plus point when it comes to picking out properties.
Costs of terrace
While building costs
for free-standing houses cost an average of R6,539 per square metre
(depending on various factors, of course), townhouses and flats clock
in at approximately R7,581 per square metre. Location also plays a
big role, as construction of residential structures (i.e.
free-standing houses, townhouses and flats) is most expensive in
KwaZulu-Natal, for example. With the exception of townhouses/terraced
homes (where Northern Cape holds the number three position), the
provinces of Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal hold the top
three cost positions for all the other building types.
Houses smaller than 80
m² present building costs of around R4,438/m², while those
exceeding 80 m² are valued at roughly R6,614 per square metre.
How homify can help
Seeking a terrace house
/ townhouse? How about a city flat or apartment? Here is where homify
can help, for our ever-increasing collection of houses show off a
wide variety of styles and designs (not to mention sizes and budgets)
to get your inspirational juices flowing.
Pair that up with our
wide range of professionals, such as architects and interior designers, and you have quite a few expert options to
help you acquire the house of your dreams.