Townhouse

A townhouse, townhome, town house, or town home as used in North America, Asia, Australia, South Africa, and parts of Europe, is a type of terraced housing. A modern town house is often one with a small footprint on multiple floors. In British usage, the term originally referred to the city residence (normally in London) of someone whose main or largest residence was a country house.

Historically, a townhouse was the city residence of a noble or wealthy family, who would own one or more country houses in which they lived for much of the year. From the 18th century, landowners and their servants would move to a townhouse during the social season (when major balls took place).

In the United Kingdom, most townhouses are terraced. Only a small minority of them, generally the largest, were detached, but even aristocrats whose country houses had grounds of hundreds or thousands of acres often lived in terraced houses in town. For example, the Duke of Norfolk owned Arundel Castle in the country, while his London house, Norfolk House, was a terraced house in St James's Square over 100 feet (30 meters) wide.

Townhouses are expensive where detached single-family houses are uncommon, such as in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington, DC, and San Francisco.

The name townhouse or townhome was later used to describe non-uniform units in suburban areas that are designed to mimic detached or semi-detached homes. Today, the term townhouse is used to describe units mimicking a detached home that are attached in a multi-unit complex. The distinction between living units called apartments and those called townhouses is that townhouses usually consist of multiple floors and have their own outside door as opposed to having only one level and/or having access via an interior corridor \hallway or via an exterior balcony-style walkway (more common in the warmer climates). Another distinction is that in most areas of the US outside of the very largest cities, apartment refers to rental housing, and townhouse typically refers to an individually owned dwelling, with no other unit beneath or above although the term townhouse-style (rental) apartment is also heard for bi-level apartments.

In Asia, Australia, and South Africa, the usage of the term follows the North American sense. Townhouses are generally found in complexes. Large complexes often have high security, resort facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, parks and playground equipment. Typically, a townhouse has a Strata Title; i.e., a type of title where the common property (landscaped area, public corridors, building structure, etc.) is owned by a corporation of individual owners and the houses on the property are owned by the individual owners.

 

 


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