Debate: 1/2 Duplex or Townhouse?

duplex vancouver

In Vancouver, as prices of detached homes quickly escape the threshold of many local buyers we turn to alternative options when it comes time to have a piece of property within the city.  Townhomes and duplexes are often great options for young families looking to have more space than a typical condo, potentially more outdoor space, and to avoid elevators by having their own front door.  The question is, what is better?  A townhouse or a duplex?

Benefits of a Duplex:

Bigger Yard.  Typically with a duplex you will get more yard space than you would with a townhouse.  This is great for young kids and gives us the feeling of being in a detached home.  Most duplexes that we see are front and back duplexes.  This means that the owner of the front typically has access to the front yard and the back owner has access to the back.  There is usually a side walk way to access the alley if there is one.

Lower Strata Fees.  Often Duplexes do not even have strata fees and the owners are responsible for their own portion.  They typically do not have strata meetings and maintenance is each owners responsibility.  This can be a big incentive for buyers but keep in mind as the property ages you will be responsible for the upkeep of the property.

More Privacy.  Typically duplexes are only connected on one side.  With a townhome if you were to get a corner unit this may also be the case however you may also have people above you.  In most scenarios, duplexes just share one wall which makes them feel more private.

Benefits of a Townhouse:

Less Maintenance.  For those of you who want to be able to lock the door and leave then a townhouse could be a great option.  You won’t need to worry about cutting grass, cleaning windows (exterior), or cleaning up around the yard.  Strata fees should include all exterior maintenance and put a plan in place to keep up the building, even when you are on holiday!!!

Lower Price Point.  Typically townhomes will be less expensive.  This is not always the case but they do run more similar to condos and duplexes more similar to detached homes.  If all things are equal typically a duplex will be slightly higher in price.

More Neighbours.  If you are a social person and like to feel part of a community often times townhome complexes will give you that feel.  You will have more neighbours and people within your complex to get to know.  You will have regular meetings and this is often a great place to get to know your neighbours.

All in all, duplex living and townhome living are both great options for modern day Vancouver.  It gives you the feeling of a single family home while living in something more affordable that is likely more updated.  Rather than crossing out one or the other I recommend getting out and looking at both and seeing what feels more right to you.  Once you see it you will know.  If you are considering starting this process or would like some guidance give us a call and we would be happy to help you find your next home!

Casey Archibald – Founder of