Terraced houses are a common and iconic feature of many cities and towns around the world.
These narrow, multi-story homes are usually arranged in rows, sharing walls with their neighbors to form a continuous block.
While some may consider terraced houses cramped and outdated, others see them as a charming and efficient use of space in urban areas.
If you’re looking to buy or rent a terraced house, or are simply curious about this type of housing, read on to learn all you need to know about terraced houses.
What Is A Terraced House?
A terraced house is a type of housing style where multi-story homes are joined by a wall on either or both sides of the houses to form a row of similar or identical houses. The term “terrace” refers to a uniform row of houses with a consistent architectural design.
This type of housing is also called row houses in some countries. It is mostly found in densely populated areas like towns and cities where there are limited housing spaces.
It has proved to be an efficient use of space, providing relatively cheaper houses in the city.
Terraced houses often have multiple floors and can be narrow and tall, with little space between the front door and the street.
The layout of a terraced house is simple and often includes a front reception room, a kitchen, and a backyard or garden at the rear of the property.
A terraced house attached to other houses on both sides is referred to as a mid-terrace house while houses at the beginning or end of a row of terraced houses are called an end of terrace home.
An end-of-terrace home is usually more expensive than a mid-terrace home.
Terraced houses have been a popular type of housing in cities around the world for centuries, and continue to be a prevalent form of housing today.
History Of Terraced Houses
Terraced homes have a long and distinguished history. They can be traced back to ancient civilizations in Greece and Rome, where the concept of building multiple housing units in a row first became popular.
It was where wealthy residents often lived with shops on the ground floor.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, terraced housing became increasingly popular in Britain and Ireland, particularly in urban areas such as London and Dublin.
This first began when the concept migrated to England from Italy in the 1600s. Houses were built in continuous rows with narrow facades to maximize the use of limited housing space.
This design allowed for more houses to be built in a smaller area, and provided efficient use of land and resources.
Terraced homes from various historical eras differ greatly from one another. The UK’s earliest terraced homes were constructed in the 17th century, but more of these homes were built in the years that followed.
So what does a terraced house mean for each historical era?
1. Georgian Terraced Houses
The first terraced houses in the UK were constructed during the Georgian period. The houses from this period were tall and narrow with three or four stories.
They had symmetrical facades and sash windows. Many Georgian terraced houses feature decorative molding and columns and often have a central staircase leading up from the ground floor.
They were considered luxury homes and were built by wealthy individuals. In modern cities like Bath, Edinburgh, and London, you can still find these styles of terrace houses overlooking beautiful parks and city squares.
2. Victorian Terraced Houses
In the 19th century, terraced housing became increasingly popular in urban areas, particularly in England.
This was due to the rapid population growth and as a result, numerous terraced houses were constructed.
Victorian terraced houses are typically made of brick, with elaborate detailing such as bay windows, decorative ironwork, and intricate tilework.
Many Victorian terraced houses feature a basement level, which was often used as a kitchen or servant’s quarters.
3. Edwardian Terraced Houses
During the Edwardian era, property construction witnessed substantial development. As a result, the houses built in this period were significantly smaller and built in shorter rows than those from the Georgian and Victorian eras.
Edwardian terraced houses are similar in style to Victorian terraced houses but are typically more understated in their design.
Many Edwardian terraced houses feature a bay window on the ground floor and a flat roof. They were also characterized by ornamental chimneys, porches, and faux Tudor cladding.
4. Modern Terraced Houses
In recent years, architects and builders have experimented with new designs for terraced housing.
Some of the features that modern terraced houses often have are sleek, minimalist design elements, such as large windows, open floor plans, and minimal detailing.
Some modern terraced houses are constructed with eco-friendly materials and may include solar panels or green roofs.
Advantages Of Terraced Houses
Terraced houses offer several advantages that make them an attractive housing option for many people. Some of the advantages of living in a terraced home include:
1. Efficient Use Of Space
Since terraced homes are often tall and narrow, they maximize the limited urban real estate. This can be essential in urban areas with a high density of people because there is a limited amount of space.
2. Energy Efficient
Terraced houses share walls with neighboring properties on either side and as such they can provide better insulation and reduce noise compared to detached or standalone homes. This is especially beneficial in crowded cities where noise pollution is a potential issue.
Mid-terrace homes share walls with two neighbors, so as a result of the nearby walls, you share some of the heat.
The shared walls also mean less insulation may be required, increasing the property’s energy efficiency.
However, end-of-terrace homes would not be as energy efficient as mid-terrace homes because only one wall is shared.
Terraced houses can be an affordable housing option, particularly in areas where standalone homes are more expensive.
Terraced homes are often less expensive than semi-detached duplex or detached homes, though costs may vary by neighborhood.
A terraced house might be an excellent place to start your search for a first home if you’re concerned about housing costs.
4. Easy Maintenance
Terraced houses can be easier to maintain than standalone homes, as the shared walls mean that there are fewer exterior surfaces to paint or maintain.
It also requires less general maintenance than a standalone house, like a semi-detached or detached house, because there are fewer rooms.
Terraced houses can be rather large inside, despite the small amount of garden or outdoor space.
They can be quite appealing due to the space they provide, especially to young buyers who may desire to raise a family.
Though you might not have as much space if you purchase a mid-terrace home, and you won’t have as many alternatives for expanding the home.
6. Freedom And Privacy
Living in a terrace house comes with privacy and freedom you just can’t get from a condo or an apartment. For starters, there are not as many rules.
Usually, in a condo or apartment building, there are several rules. You may have several limitations regarding things like noise levels, parking, pets, smoking, and even the overall design of the unit.
However, a terrace house gives you these privileges since you own the whole building.
You might still not be able to make major changes to the exterior of your home because the units are designed to look identical but you have the freedom to make a substantial change to the interior.
Additionally, you do not have to worry about elevators or finding a parking spot as most terrace homes come with small or shared parking spaces.
You get to reap all the benefits of a detached house and avoid the troubles of an apartment. It is the best of both.
Challenges Of Terraced Houses
1. Limited outdoor space
Terraced houses are typically narrow and tall, which means that they offer limited outdoor space compared to standalone homes.
This can be a challenge for families with children or pets, or for people who enjoy gardening or outdoor entertaining.
While the shared walls of terraced houses can provide better insulation and reduce noise compared to standalone homes, they can also transmit noise from neighboring properties.
This can be a problem for people who are sensitive to noise or who have noisy neighbors.
3. Less Privacy
Because terraced houses are connected to neighboring properties, there is often a lack of privacy compared to standalone homes.
This can be a problem for people who value their privacy, or for those who have noisy or intrusive neighbors.
4. Resale value
Terraced houses can be more difficult to sell than standalone homes, particularly if they are part of a larger development.
This can be a concern for homeowners who may need to sell their property quickly or who are looking for a good return on their investment.
Terraced houses come with limited parking spaces so you can have trouble finding a spot for your car outside your home even if you have a residents’ parking plan.
Keep in mind that you won’t have a driveway, and parking spaces may be few if the street is busy.
Therefore, parking can be an issue for you if you live in a city close to well-known stores and cafes or transportation hubs like railway stations.
If parking is important to you, find out how it works before you buy, and find out if a parking permit is required.
Things To Consider Before Buying Or Renting A Terraced House
1. The Location
This is a very important aspect when renting or buying a terrace house or any property, really.
The location of the property could have significant effects on the price, accessibility, security, rules, and so much more.
If you are looking to rent or buy a terrace home, take the location into careful consideration. If you already have a neighborhood in mind, stick to it and try to get the best deal possible.
If you are yet to decide on a neighborhood, walk through different neighborhoods and try to find out as much as you can.
Where is the closest bus stop? Is the area prone to flooding? Is there a supermarket nearby? Ask people who live in the area about any issues they may be having with the area.
Most terrace houses are in the city, so it will most likely be busy, but you want to make sure it is not so noisy that you can’t get any sleep.
Consider the roads close to the property, are they major roads? Consider the properties around the apartment building, if there is a bar, club, or anything else that could cause a lot of noise? If there is, you may be better off in another place.
2. Your Budget
Considering your budget is a no-brainer before you rent or buy a home. Terrace houses are usually cheaper than standalone houses; however, the prices can vary depending on several factors, and some might end up being more expensive than others.
Don’t just account for the price of the property, you should also take note of the additional costs that come with living in the terrace home.
You might also want to consider the costs of renovation, if necessary.
3. Outdoor Space And Parking
Before you rent or buy a terrace house, check the outdoor space and what the parking situation is like.
This is important because it can have a significant impact on your daily life. Most terrace houses come with a small or shared outdoor space, but some don’t, so it is definitely something to look out for before you rent or buy a terrace house.
You don’t want to end up lugging groceries through the distance from your car to your house or waste time looking for a parking space on the street.
Apart from it being inconvenient, parking on the street can be risky, especially if you’re in an area with high crime rates.
You might also need to pay for a permit to be able to park on the street which can be expensive.
When planning to rent or buy a house, your security should be of utmost importance. You want to make sure that you feel safe and secure in your new home, and that your belongings are also protected.
Do your research on the area where the property is located to make sure it has a good safety record. Check crime rates and ask around to see if there have been any recent incidents.
Check the building’s security measures also, and consider whether the building and areas around it are well-lit.
You should also check the locks on the doors and windows in the house, and make sure they are secure.
Consider adding additional locks or security devices, such as a doorstop alarm, if you feel it’s necessary.
One thing you absolutely want to avoid when renting a terrace house is a terrible neighbor. You can’t really pick and choose when it comes to neighbors, but you can try.
Before you rent or buy the terrace home, visit the property at different times of the day to get a sense of the type of neighbors you have.
Your neighbors can have a significant impact on the noise levels in your house since you will be sharing walls.
If you have noisy neighbors or live in a noisy area, it can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
Also, check if the neighbors are friendly. Living in a friendly community can greatly enhance your quality of life.
6. Utility Costs
Before you rent or buy your terrace house, you should consider the utility costs. Utility costs can significantly impact your monthly budget, and overlooking them can lead to financial strain.
You do not want to end up with a large utility bill at the end of the month with no way to pay it.
Terrace houses are energy efficient, but you could still be using more power than you can afford.
Look for houses that have energy-efficient features such as Energy Star-certified appliances, low-flow toilets, and LED lighting.
These features can help reduce your utility bills.
Is A Terrace House A Good Investment?
Investing in a terraced house can be a good decision for a variety of reasons. Firstly, terrace houses are often more affordable than standalone homes, making them an attractive option for people looking to invest in property.
They can also offer a good balance of affordability and convenience for renters, making them a good option for investors looking for rental income.
Additionally, while terrace houses do require some upkeep and maintenance, they can be easier to maintain than standalone homes, particularly in terms of shared walls and roofs.
Good communication and cooperation with neighboring property owners can help to manage any maintenance issues.
In terms of resale value, terrace houses can be a good investment in the long term, particularly if the property is located in a desirable area and is well-maintained.
In conclusion, terraced houses come with a lot of benefits. They have a rich history, offer a sense of community, and can be more affordable than standalone homes.
If you are house hunting, why not give this housing style a chance, it might just be right for you.