If you’re looking for a home (or a property to invest in) then you’ll probably be faced with something of a dilemma as to what sort of property you should go for. Is a flat better than a terraced house? What are the pros and cons of buying a bungalow? Is it worth stretching the budget to buy a detached?
Here we’ll look at the pros and cons of the different house types for buyers as well as property investors.
+ Terraced houses tend to be the cheapest type of property. Because of this they tend to hold their values well, as more people are able to afford to buy them.
Although there are some large, grand terraces (often known as townhouses) terraced houses tend to be small and so economical to run. They’re usually good for energy efficiency too.
- Terraced houses normally have little or no private parking – something that many buyers look for today. Gardens, where they exist at all, may be very limited.
Terraced houses can also be difficult to extend if you need more space. Where it is possible at all extensions may be limited to loft conversions and basement conversions, which can be expensive.
+ Semi-detached houses offer many of the benefits of a detached house like better privacy and more outside space, but at a lower overall cost.
Semi-detached houses are often easy and relatively inexpensive to extend if you need more space.
- Semi-detached houses offer some of the disadvantages of a terraced house, such as noise issues and possible neighbour problems. But they are usually significantly more expensive than a terraced house of a similar size.
When looked at on a per-square-metre basis semi-detached houses may be more expensive than detached houses too.
+ Detached houses offer the ultimate in privacy. You can make as much noise as you like to some extent! And they have the most space, both inside and out.
If you need more space, it’s easy to extend a detached house via several different methods.
Detached houses tend to have the biggest gardens. Large gardens can be valuable in their own right, thanks to their development potential.
Some research by Halifax has shown that detached houses have appreciated in value faster than other property types in recent years. Detached houses grew in value by 16.6%, compared to approximately 15% for semi-detached and terraced and 9% for apartments. So they could be a slightly better investment. (This might have been as a result of Covid and may not always be the case though.)
- Detached houses tend to be larger and so the most expensive properties in any given area. They also generally have the highest running and maintenance costs.
+ Bungalows offer single-level living, which some buyers see as a big advantage.
Bungalows are also, generally, in short supply as very few are built today. They tend to hold their value well as a result.
- Bungalows tend to be more expensive than the equivalent-sized semi-detached or detached house.
Bungalows only appeal to a fairly small buyer (or tenant) group – mainly older people. So they are not always easy to resell (or let out).
Flat or apartment
+ Flats or apartments may be the only type of property available in a city centre.
Flats and apartments tend to be the cheapest type of property in any given area. They also tend to have the lowest running costs (but not necessarily maintenance costs, see below). They’re good for energy efficiency too.
Partly for these reasons they tend to be easy to resell or let.
It is often thought (but you should always check) that for property investors, flats/apartments as well as terraced houses may offer the best yields.
- Flats are usually leasehold (England and Wales) which can present a number of problems, including an obligation to pay ground rent. There will usually be a service charge to cover maintenance of the communal parts of the building, which can be high in some cases.
The cladding issue also affects some blocks of flats.
It’s impossible to extend a flat or apartment if you need more space.
Flats may not have any outdoor space. If they do it is likely to be limited to a small balcony or use of a communal garden.
At the end of the day, there’s no best property type! Every different property type has both pros and cons. When buying (or investing) it’s important to think about what your particular priorities are.