A Condo vs A Townhouse: Which one you should buy in Toronto?

A lot of decisions need to be made by everyone in their daily lives, ranging from daily chores to office decisions and the like. When it comes to buying a home, the decision to be made in this regard is the location, price, structural integrity, how long has the structure stood, how good is the neighborhood/suburb and the like.

One of the most important questions in home buying is what kind of a home a person wants to live in. If it’s a single family detached house, then it’s time to move to the suburbs. If the prospective buyer wishes to step away from the suburbs, then they need to decide between a condominium and a townhouse.

A brief comparison of a townhouse and a condo?

A condominium (also called a condo) is a building, or a community of buildings where each unit is own by a separate individual instead of a landlord owning them all.

Whereas a townhouse is defined as a conjoined unit owned by individual tenants. Townhouses have an appearance resembling those of row houses where owners often share at lease one or more than one wall.

There are other important differences to be spotted between these two options. In order to find them out, the following are the differences between these two:

Factor Condo Townhouse
Ownership Condo owners only own the internal parts of their residential units. Other areas like the exterior, lawn and communal areas are property of the homeowners’ association. Townhouse owners have ownership of both interior and exterior such as the roof, lawn and driveway. They do not own the communal areas.
Architecture Condos come in different styles. They can be part of a high-rise building, a cul-de-sac of cottages and the like. Townhouses are usually designed in rows hence tenants share at least one wall. It is also common for them to have 2 or more stories.
Community They often have a community focus with a club house, gym, pool, mini golf course, mini park etc. Some townhouse communities offer the same kind of amenities as condos, but others are quite private.
Homeowners Association Fees HOA fees for condos are often higher than those of townhouses as they have to pay for upkeeping the exterior, such as the lawn maintenance, trash removal & pest control. Townhouse owners pay lower HOA fees per month as they don’t have to pay much for the keep. Certain types of maintenance and other removal are handled by the HOA body.
Home Insurance Rates Home insurance rates are usually lower for condos because owners only need to ensure the interior part of their unit. Townhouses may have higher rates of home insurance as most owners need packages covering both exteriors and interiors.
Size The come in many shapes and sizes but are generally smaller than townhouses. Townhouses are larger than condos and can feature multiple stories.
Maintenance Charges Condo owners often pay higher monthly maintenance charges used in fixing exteriors and community spaces. Townhouse owners have lower monthly maintenance fees, but often must pay more for exterior and interior care.
Privacy Dependent on the style, condos can be private individual homes or apartment style units. They share one or two walls with neighboring units. They however have no units above or beneath them.


How to decide in buying either a condo or a townhouse?

There are quite a few similarities and a few differences between these two housing options. In order to decide the best option, buyers need to weigh in the pros and cons of each one. They then need to balance all of them with the rest of the decisions. Here is how to start with the buying decision.

What does the lifestyle need?

Both a condo and a townhouse have different advantages and disadvantages. Condo buyers preferring being close to an entertainment spot or their workplace, prefer to avoid spending on maintenance and do not mind sharing common areas.

Typical condo buyers were once a younger generation wanting to buy one as their first ever home before they step towards buying a house. Now, older couples are becoming major condo fans.

On the other end, a typical buyer of a house prefers having more space and privacy. They also want to personalize their home by considerable margins, as they can spend time, money (or both) on maintaining the house. They can also be willing to commute longer to work to live in the house they wish to live in.

Status of finances

Overall costs of Condos in comparison to homes differ considerably. The costs per square foot of both can be similar but a ticket price of a condo is lower than its counterpart’s. But it needs to be observed that condos are becoming pricier in comparison to a house. Research revealed that the median price for a condo in Canada at the end of 2017 costed $400,000 and a house costed $510,000.

Moreover, maintenance fees for condo are lower than that of a house. Meaning that younger couples who have just started working can easily make a budget for the maintenance costs.

There is one thing prospective condo and townhouse buyers need to take in consideration. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI) has set new mortgage regulations. The new minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages indicates reduced purchasing power.

This means that home buyers are unable to afford the same home they wanted to buy some time ago. Another research revealed the average peak millennials purchasing power in Canada was cut by $40,000, ever since the new rules were introduced.


New rules on qualifying for mortgages have been introduced but that doesn’t necessarily mean that residential property cannot be purchased in Toronto. Townhouse prices have been higher than that of condos and with pricing controls implemented, prospective buyers can always buy Toronto condos for sale whenever they get the chance.

Toronto is renowned for limiting suburban sprawl by constructing apartments, lofts and condos. This has led it to be colloquially known as the Condo capital of North America. With many options present in condos, buyers have the freedom of choice to buy a condo that suits their needs well.

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