Finding a home to rent or buy can be a stressful endeavour. The decision is much simpler with the right information! To start, it’s important to understand what type of home you are looking for. Some of the most common types of homes are semi-detached and townhomes. But what’s really the difference between a semi-detached vs. townhome? We’ve gathered some of the most distinct qualities of each type of home, important things to consider when house hunting, and what you can expect from each type of living situation.

Semi-detached meaning

First things first: what is a semi-detached house? A semi-detached house is a single-family home that shares one common wall with one other home. This means you’ll only share a small portion of the house with another family. This is unlike a townhouse where you could be sharing multiple walls on either side of the dwelling.

While builders typically construction townhouses in rows, semi-detached homes connect to a dwelling that is similar in size and design. The two homes that share a wall in semi-detached housing are also often mirror images of each other. This means that if the common wall is the kitchen, it would also be the kitchen in the other house. Semi-detached homes also have their own bit of land in the front and back yard, and maintenance is often up to the owner.

Townhouse meaning

A townhouse is a home that is connected to other homes on both sides and on all levels. The only exception to this rule is if you live in the end unit of a townhouse complex. Like semi-detached housing, townhouses are also single-family homes. Townhomes are often two or three stories tall and constructed fairly narrowly. Just like a semi-detached home, each townhouse has its own lot of land.  

Things to consider 

Now that you’ve got a solid grasp on the meaning of semi-detached vs. townhouse, let’s dive into some things to consider when renting or buying these types of homes, such as size, privacy, noise, maintenance, and renovations. 


The size of a home is obviously a big factor to consider when choosing between a townhouse and a semi-detached house. In comparison to a fully detached home, both townhouses and semi-detached houses are typically smaller in size and square footage. However, this means that they are also cheaper and make particularly great starter homes. Whether you are a new couple or a growing family, it’s likely you’ll find a townhouse or semi-detached house that can accommodate your needs.

Though townhouses are typically built as narrow, tall homes, they are often around the same size as semi-detached homes, which sometimes appear bigger simply because they are built wider.  


Though this may be obvious, semi-detached homes and townhomes will inevitably be less private than a completely detached home. However, this could be a great opportunity to get to know your neighbours and truly feel part of the community. It’s important to remember to remain as respectful of people’s privacy as possible, and it could be worthwhile investing in things that could add some privacy to your own property, like strategically placed trees or covered pavilions in the backyard

In this realm, it’s important to remember that a semi-detached house only has one immediate neighbour, rather than a townhouse which often has two. So, a semi-detached home could potentially be a bit more private than a townhouse!  


It’s again significant to remember that a townhome shares multiple walls with neighbours on either side of the dwelling, while a semi-detached home only shares one wall with another dwelling. As a result, townhouses simply have a higher chance of being noisier than semi-detached houses. Walls are obviously not soundproof and it can be easy enough for noise to travel from one house to another through any shared walls.  


For many people, maintenance is something that can be tedious and should be avoided. In this case, both a townhouse and a semi-detached house might be good options. Additionally, a smaller yard obviously means less work and less time keeping things, such as grass and gardens, maintained. In comparison to a detached home, the property surrounding semi-detached and townhomes can be significantly smaller and less time-consuming. 

Not only are the properties of townhomes and semi-detached homes smaller than detached homes, but so are the roofs. As a result, there is less budget and time required to potentially fix or simply maintain them. 

Another factor that can be forgotten is heating and cooling costs. With shared walls and smaller spaces to heat or cool, costs can also be cut here, especially if your surrounding neighbours are already heating or cooling their homes.  


One limitation with townhouses or semi-detached houses is that there can sometimes be regulations surrounding renovations. There could potentially be legal or structural limitations regarding renovations, particularly due to how it could impact your neighbour(s). However, this can be extremely beneficial if it means that you are the neighbour trying to avoid extra noise. 

Also, with regard to repairs (which are often not optional like renovations), repair costs can often be split with neighbours, which can help cut costs.  


Overall, there are many things to consider when choosing between a townhouse vs. semi-detached house. While semi-detached houses only share one wall with a neighbouring house, townhouses are often “sandwiched” between a row of other homes, sharing walls on all levels of the house. They share many similar qualities, like less land maintenance and lower costs in comparison to a fully detached home. It is ultimately up to you to consider many different factors and decide which type of home is best suited for your lifestyle, preferences, and whoever might share this space with you.

At Paradise Developments, we build townhouses and semi-detached properties. Check out our communities here.