Choosing a home, especially your first, is a big decision that can leave you feeling confused and excited all at the same time. While a lot of people are usually set on apartments or houses, a third product exists that combines the best attributes of both in one package – a townhome.
Over the last 5 years, townhomes have emerged as an excellent option for homebuyers. Not only do they combine many of the attributes everyone looks for in a home, but also at a significantly lower cost, while being easier to maintain like apartments. In this sense, there’s always bound to be a suitable product for anyone, whether you’re looking to buy your first home, upgrade, downsize, or just simply relocate.
Being spread out over two or even three levels, townhomes can maintain internal sizes from 16 squares, all the way up to 25 squares; these sizes are easily comparable to a small or standard house. This is significantly larger than an apartment, which generally sits at the 8 to 10 square mark. A townhome on the larger end of the scale can easily accommodate a family of 4, while a smaller design is perfect for couples looking for their first home with enough space to grow in the future.
By using land efficiently, the footprint of a townhome is much smaller than that of a detached house – meaning less cleaning up and garden maintenance, while still being able to incorporate an outdoor space or courtyard.
Like a traditional detached house, owning a townhome means you also own the land it is on . With land being the main contributor to capital gains, buying a townhome is a significantly better long-term investment than an apartment. While new apartments can always be built, there’s only a limited supply of land; townhomes allow you to still retain interest in the property, unlike an apartment.
Despite containing slightly less space, size and occasionally privacy of a house, a townhome is significantly more affordable than a traditional house. As of the March quarter this year (2021), Melbourne’s median house price crossed the $1 million mark. This puts large, detached houses out of reach for many people, especially those looking to downsize but stay in the same area, or looking for their first home.
Townhomes offer a very financially attractive alternative, generally being several hundreds of thousands of dollars cheaper than a similarly sized home in a similar area. For example, townhome building costs have increased from $147,300 in 2003-04, to $250,200 in 2017-18, while the cost of building a detached house has increased from $179,500 to $313,800 in the same period (Australian Bureau of Statistics).
Many of the main forces transforming residential housing is centred around design. While houses have retained relatively similar layouts over the past few decades with few new innovations, townhomes are inherently flexible. Townhome designs can be catered and adopted to multiple buyers, with varying bedrooms, layouts, storeys, and functional areas. Additionally, the nature of townhome designs means it’s much easier incorporating new technological and sustainable practices in addition to stylistic innovations, such as taking advantage of natural lighting, or more efficient heating and cooling to save on bills. These innovations and inclusions are standardised, along with other things like landscaping, fencing, and letterboxes, which are all included in the townhome package price. This gives you more time to focus on the fun side of things like furniture and homewares, rather than stressing over the features and functionality of the home.
When building townhomes, property developers generally choose land that’s conveniently located close to public transport, major amenity (such as shopping strips or centres), or parks and recreational areas. Given this, townhomes are typically located in the best part of its suburb, regardless of its density or popularity. The level of connectedness that townhomes provide often is simply unavailable through more traditional housing and plays a large part in making everyday life just that much easier.
With townhomes becoming increasingly popular, you may be curious to know what type of buyer they are appealing to; the following data is collected through RPM’s customer surveys. This graph highlights that first home buyers (FHB) make up an increasingly large amount of townhome purchasers over the last few years, with the past 12 months (to September 2021) seeing over half (54%) of all townhome buyers being FHB. A noticeable percentage of buyers are also upgraders who are looking for a spacious and modern dwelling with a low maintenance lifestyle. Investors, while decreasing as a percentage of buyers overall, still see the value that townhomes represent and attribute to 25% of townhome buyers.
When it comes to buying a home, it’s important to put your own needs first. Make sure you have a checklist of what features are important to you, so you know that whatever you choose, it’s right for you. If you’re thinking of something spacious, stylish, but still affordable and in a great location, consider looking at a townhome. With the introduction of the new Victorian Homebuyer Fund (VHF), which allows eligible owner-occupiers to purchase their property with just a 5% deposit, with the government contributing up to 25% of the purchase price, it’s never been a better time to consider a townhome
Need help looking for your new home? We have townhome projects all around Melbourne.
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