Is Buying a Condo or Townhouse Worth It?

From maintenance costs to appreciation to affordability, we do a deep dive into the pros and cons of owning a condo versus a townhouse versus a house.

By Emily Southey | 10 minute read

Dec 15

Prospective homebuyers have many options when it comes to buying a home. Beyond which property to buy, they must first decide what type of property they are most interested in. Three of the most common types of homes today are condos, townhouses, and houses. Below, we break down the pros and cons of each to help you decide which one makes the most sense for you, your lifestyle, and your real estate goals.


A condominium (condo for short) is a unit within a larger community, often a highrise building. One of the most popular types of homes for homebuyers, condos are generally considered to be the lowest maintenance. For this reason, they are often well-suited to first-time homebuyers, retired homeowners, single homeowners, or people who travel frequently. Condos might look similar to apartments in that many distinct units make up a building and walls are shared between neighbours. However, there is one key distinction between condos and apartments, which is that condos are owned and apartments are rented. 

As mentioned, condominiums require the least amount of maintenance, as it is the responsibility of the condo association to handle the day-to-day management of the property. From a leaky roof to a broken communal swimming pool, general maintenance and repairs are taken care of by the condo association. Of course, to cover these costs condo owners pay Homeowner Association (HOA) or condo fees. In addition, condo associations can have strict rules, regarding everything from pets and renovations to tenants. That said, the convenience of owning a condo outweighs the extra cost of limitations for many. In addition to the management of the property being taken care of, condo owners may also get to enjoy all kinds of amenities, such as a 24/7 concierge, fitness centre, sauna, cinema, swimming pool, and more.

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Condo

We outline the pros and cons of buying a condo below.

Pro: Luxurious amenities

A major pro of buying a condo is the amenities they offer. Many condo buildings, especially newer ones, include all kinds of luxurious amenities that make living in a condo much more enjoyable. Examples of popular condo building amenities include swimming pools, saunas, fitness rooms, cinemas, rooftop terraces, garbage pickup, snow removal, and a 24/7 concierge. 

Pro: Proximity to urban areas

Another perk of buying a condo is that they might allow homeowners, especially first-time homeowners, to purchase a property closer to a city centre. As urban areas tend to be more expensive, buying a condo might be your only option if you want to live downtown. While purchasing a house in a major city might be unaffordable, buying a condo might not be. Therefore, buying a condo may not only give you access to city living but condos in urban areas tend to appreciate faster than condos in suburbs, increasing your odds of turning a profit when it comes time to sell. 

“A major pro of buying a condo is the amenities they offer. Many condo buildings, especially newer ones, include all kinds of luxurious amenities that make living in a condo much more enjoyable.”

Pro: Low maintenance

The third benefit of buying a condo is how convenient and low maintenance they are. The condo association is responsible for general maintenance and upkeep, which means you can reap the benefits of owning a property without the hassle of managing it.   

Pro: Added security

Finally, the added security that condos offer can be a significant pro for homeowners. Many condo buildings have 24-hour concierges or security personnel, as well as locked entrances and elevators. These features provide a higher degree of safety and security that simply does not exist with townhouses or single-family homes.

Con: Condo association rules

The main con of buying a condo is the condo association rules. As mentioned these can be strict, and homeowners might find it frustrating to have to abide by them. For example, condo owners may be required to obtain permission from the condo association to make changes to a unit, to get a pet, or to rent out their unit to a tenant. If the association were to deny any of these requests, the homeowners may have little recourse. 


Moving on to townhouses. Townhouses are generally less expensive than single-family homes but may be more expensive than condos. They are also larger than a typical condo, though they often share exterior walls with neighbouring homes, much like a condo. Townhouses may feature small front and backyards or patios, which offer a slice of outdoor living that is atypical of condominiums. Further, like condos, townhouses usually come with HOA rules and fees, though these rules may be less strict, giving a townhouse owner a little more autonomy than the average condo owner. Generally speaking, the older the townhouse development, the more expensive the maintenance fees are. Overall, a townhouse is a cross between a condo and a standard house, which to some homeowners is the best of both worlds. 

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Townhouse

Here are some of the pros and cons of buying a townhouse: 

Pro: Greater autonomy

Townhouse owners have more freedom to make changes to their properties than condo owners. Plus, in the case of a detached townhouse, owners can alter both the interiors and exteriors of the home. 

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Pro: Higher value

Another perk of buying a townhouse is the higher resale value they offer. As townhouses offer more freedom and are often larger in size than condos, homebuyers are willing to pay a higher price, especially if the townhouse is in a prime location. If appreciation or investing is an important part of your real estate goals, a townhouse may be an ideal fit.

Con: Less secure

Townhouses are generally considered to be less secure than condos. As they have windows and doors that lead directly onto the street, and no 24/7 security or concierge, the odds of an incident are higher. That said, townhouse owners do have the option of purchasing security systems to increase the safety of their properties. 

Con: More expensive

Another downside of buying a townhouse is that they are more expensive than condos. Therefore, homebuyers will need to prepare for a higher down payment and larger mortgage payments. In addition, townhouse expenses, such as utilities and property taxes, are also usually higher than condos.

Con: More responsibility

Lastly, townhouse owners have more responsibility than condo owners. For example, if an HVAC unit breaks or a plumbing issue arises, they must handle it on their own. There is no association they can call to fix it for them. 


Last but not least are houses. Standard houses or single-family homes are one of the most popular types of properties purchased today. Single-family homes are stand-alone structures set on a foundation. They do not share walls with neighbours or common spaces with others and are often larger in size than condos and townhouses. Houses also tend to feature a greater mix of outdoor and indoor living space. Unlike condos and townhouses, which are usually subject to HOA guidelines or rules, houses offer the greatest amount of autonomy to homeowners. Owners are typically free to decorate, repair, renovate, or maintain their properties any way they like. The drawback to owning a house is that since they are often larger in size, they are also more expensive. In fact, single-family homes typically cost tens of thousands of dollars more than condos.

The Pros and Cons of Buying a House

Check out the pros and cons of buying a house below:

Pro: Higher property appreciation

Single-family homes are generally considered to be the most valuable among the three types of properties (condos, townhouses, and standard houses). Therefore, people are willing to pay the most for them and they often experience the highest property appreciation (that said, appreciation is never a guarantee in real estate, no matter what type of property you buy). If part of the reason you are buying a home is as an investment, then a single-family home might be right for you.

Pro: Complete control

Another major pro of buying a house is that they offer complete control. Unlike condos and townhouses that may have strict rules imposed by an HOA, owners of standard homes aren’t subject to any rules. This means that they can customize the property however they like, from finishing a basement to buying a new bathroom or adding an entire extension onto the home. This level of freedom is simply unmatched and can be very appealing to prospective homeowners. 

Pro: Privacy

Privacy is another perk of buying a house. Single-family homes offer the greatest amount of privacy as they are detached, which means no walls are shared with neighbours. From enjoying the peace and quiet of this privacy to taking advantage of it by hosting backyard barbecues and dinner parties, privacy is one pro of buying a home over a condo or townhouse.

Con: Upfront costs

Perhaps the greatest con of buying a home is the upfront costs. Buying a home is more expensive than buying a condo or townhouse, which means it may not be an option for everyone. Not only will homebuyers be required to make a larger down payment but subsequent mortgage payments are also likely to be more expensive. 

Con: Ongoing maintenance

The cost and time that come with the ongoing maintenance homes require is another con. Beyond requiring more capital upfront, homes cost more money to maintain, with utilities often being far more expensive. Additionally, caring for a home is time-consuming. From mowing the lawn and shovelling snow off the walkway to pest control, HVAC maintenance, window washing, landscaping, and more, house maintenance is a major time commitment, something which may not be possible for many new homebuyers at this stage in their lives.

Con: Risk of repairs

One final con of buying a home is the risk of repairs. As mentioned, when you buy a home, you and you alone are responsible for the maintenance of that home. If something breaks, you do not have an association to rely on. The problem with this — aside from the lack of convenience — is that repairs of homes can be hard to predict and expensive. If you buy an older home and a major problem occurs, such as a leaky roof, flooded basement, or a broken HVAC unit, the cost of repairs will be entirely on you, and they won’t come cheap. Depending on your finances, if you haven’t budgeted for emergency repairs and are stretched thin as it is between mortgage payments and other property fees, one repair could spell trouble. Therefore, homeowners must ensure they have a plan to deal with the cost of necessary repairs as they arise. (We also recommend a thorough home inspection prior to purchasing a home to mitigate the odds of a problem.) 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the best places to find a townhouse?

Some of the best places to buy townhouses in Ontario include Toronto (Leaside specifically), Bancroft, London, Woodstock, Ottawa, Simcoe, Barrie, Kitchener-Waterloo, North Bay, Kawartha Lakes, Niagara, and Brantford. Meanwhile, some of the top places to buy properties outside of Ontario include Moncton, New Brunswick; Montreal, Quebec; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

Where are the best places to find a condo?

As one might expect, Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is considered to be one of the best places to buy a condo in 2022. However, there are certain neighbourhoods that may be rising faster than others. We recommend buying a Toronto condo in the following areas: Liberty Village, Mimico, Downtown East, and Yorkville.

Is maintaining a condo or townhouse easier than a standard house?

Yes, maintaining a condo or townhouse is generally easier than a standard house. In the case of condos, they are maintained by a condo association, which makes them incredibly low maintenance. If something goes wrong, a condo owner can let the condo association know, and it will handle the problem for them. In contrast, townhouse owners do not have an association to rely on. They must make any necessary repairs or upgrades themselves. However, maintaining a townhouse is typically easier than a home, namely because they are smaller in size and may not be detached. Less square footage and outdoor living space often translate to less maintenance. 

Emily Southey

Wahi Writer

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