Building Lifestyle Through Investments

What Is A Duplex – The Difference Between A Duplex & Other Types Of Homes

by Mar 24, 2022

What is a duplex? Or a townhouse? A terrace?

There are many different types of dwellings available for you. This article will describe the main types of homes built in Australia and some of the differences between them. We will identify some of the benefits and the downsides for each type of dwelling.

Finally, we’ll point you in the direction of the experts in this field!

Standalone House

A freestanding house is an unattached building located on a block of land. The house often has one or two storeys but could have more and the householder owns the land and any buildings located on it.

Standalone houses are popular with families as they typically have more outdoor garden areas for playing securely.

This home and land package is the most flexible. The owner is able to knock down and rebuild the property or extend or renovate, subject to local council approvals.

If the block is large enough and suitable, a granny flat could be built on the land, offering further options for additional living space or income from rent.
A freestanding house tends to be the most expensive type of home, with higher council rates due to the larger land size. Maintenance and utilities costs are likely to be higher, too, because the property is larger.

Freestanding dwellings are becoming more and more popular as people search for a sense of privacy.

Pros and Cons

– The most obvious pro is the increased sense of freedom these dwellings provide, which you can feel from your first step onto the property. These dwellings do not have shared walls with other properties. There are no common areas, which means you do not have to worry about the upkeep of shared spaces. Another pro is freestanding dwellings usually have larger yards, giving you more space to enjoy the outdoors.

– Downsides of owning freestanding dwellings are they can be more expensive than other types of dwellings, and they may be located further away from amenities. These dwellings also tend to be larger, which can mean more cleaning and upkeep. If you are looking for a spacious dwelling providing privacy and freedom for your family, a freestanding house may be the right choice for you.

Terraced house

A row of similar-looking houses, all joined together. These are sometimes called ‘row houses’ and are built across most of the world.

Found in older inner-city locations or near industrial sites, terraced houses normally have common walls and roofing with their neighbours. One or two storeys, or more, with a small outdoor area at the front and back. A drawback of this type of housing is there is no garage, leaving the owner dependent on local on-street parking spaces.

Terraced houses were originally built to house working-class families. They are popular with young couples and city workers due to their affordability, easy maintenance and proximity to the workplace.

Pros and cons

– The main advantage of living in a terraced house is it is typically cheaper than buying or renting an individual home.
However, there are also several disadvantages to consider. One is terraced houses can often be quite cramped and small, with little to no outside space. Another potential downside is if your neighbours are noisy, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep!

– Finally, terraced houses can sometimes lack privacy, as people walking or driving by can easily see into your home.


Duplex - Kitchen

Townhouses, typically, have two or three storeys and share a block of land with other properties. The buyer owns the building but the block, including any common property, is shared with other dwellings. These occur when a single home is demolished and the block of land is used to build multiple townhouses.

A townhouse may be detached or attached to another townhouse. Often, they have a living area on the ground floor, bedrooms on the upper levels, and a garage or parking space. Many townhouses also have a small yard or garden.

They are becoming popular in areas where houses are expensive or where there is a shortage of land. Australians often prefer townhouses to traditional houses because they are more affordable and easier to maintain.

On the plus side, townhouses can be a great way to get into the housing market because they are typically less expensive than detached homes. They also offer some advantages over apartments, such as more privacy and more space.

Pros and cons

On the downside, townhouses can be cramped, particularly if they are in a walk-up. They also often require more upkeep than apartments, since they are typically smaller and have more shared amenities. In addition, because townhouses are often part of a larger complex, there is a greater chance you will have to deal with noise and other annoyances from your neighbours.

In the end, the pros and cons of townhouses depend on the individual situation. If you are looking for an affordable way to get into the housing market or want more privacy and space than an apartment can offer, a townhouse may be a good option for you.


A villa is normally part of a complex. It is a small, single storey home. Villas may have their own garage and a small courtyard or outdoor area. Retirement villages often have villas for their affordability and ease of maintenance.

Like townhouses, villas in Australia are normally strata title properties. The buyer owns their own dwelling and shares ownership of the common areas, such as driveways. The common areas are managed by a company or corporation and all the property owners pay a fee to cover the costs of management, plus insurance.

Pros and cons

– Villas are similar to townhouses; they are affordable and easy to maintain. You will share common areas with neighbours with the privacy issues living close to others may introduce.

Semi-detached house

Duplex - Bath room

A single home sharing a wall and roof with the neighbour. Semi-detached dwellings may be found in rural areas or suburbs with higher density dwellings like townhouses and flats.

Semi-detached properties have outdoor areas at the front and back, often with a pathway along the side of the house. The back area may be used for parking.

The average semi-detached home has three bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and dining area. The bathrooms are located upstairs with the bedrooms. These dwellings are an affordable housing option for many Australians and are popular for young families and couples.

Pros and cons

The pros of living in a semi-detached house are you get the best of both worlds. You have your own space, but you also have the benefit of being able to socialize with your neighbours. Semi-detached houses are often more affordable than detached houses, and they are usually easier to maintain.

The cons of living in a semi-detached house are you may not enjoy the privacy you would have in a detached house, and you may also hear your neighbours more. Semi-detached houses can also be quite noisy during building work; beware of neighbours planning renovations!


A duplex is the modern version of a semi-detached home. Like a semi, duplexes share a common wall and roof with their neighbour. A duplex is a self-contained, complete dwelling with its own entrance, garage and garden.

The block may be sub-divided to have two smaller blocks, each with a home. Duplexes are popular with property investors, offering the potential of two rental incomes from a single build. A property owner could also live in one duplex and let the other.

Pros and cons

– They can be great for families who need more space but don’t want to live in a large house. Some families even use the additional living space to provide a taste of independent living for grown-up children. Duplexes often have more backyard space than traditional single-family dwellings, and they can be cheaper to buy or rent than a house. On the other hand, living in close proximity to another family can be challenging, and noise levels can be higher than in a single-family home.

– Property investors reap the benefits of a duplex. Especially if the block is sub-divided The owner could sell one, or both, for an instant return on their investment.

– For a longer-term investment, they could live in one and rent the other or rent both, safe in the knowledge they have two individual homes to sell in the future!

Ask the experts at Acrow Investments

You know what you want from your next home. Get in touch with the experts at Acrow Investments. Tell us your property dreams and your design ideas. Together, we will design and build the perfect home for you!

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