What is the difference between a townhouse and a ½ duplex?

This is a common question I come across as a local Vancouver Realtor to help real estate buyers. Attached market is doing much better than the single family house in certain areas and based on its square footage and location, prices of condo apartments for sale as well as townhouses are more attractive to some demographic buyers.

The other day as I was drafting search criteria for my buyer client who is looking for a certain budget, I included all types of properties in my search in particular ½ duplex.

So that’s where he asked what is the difference in ½ duplex and townhouse. 

In general, there are many strata types in BC. 
In particular, when a land is divided in two it creates a strata lot and easement. We have bare-land strata and multi-unit strata. The definition is the dividing of the land. In bare-land strata the lot is owned until the border of the division, and in multi-unit strata, the lot is owned until the half of the wall dividing the two units. 

In British Columbia Province any strata property has standard by-laws that defines the treatment of that strata lot. This bylaw is registered against the title. If the owners of the strata decide to add rules and amend any bylaws, they need to vote and after approval, entering the process of registering it against their title. In many areas, a sub-division was created and developer built many houses on that sub-division under bare-land strata. These properties are yet having bylaws and restrictions and are managed by a strata council. 

The common strata properties are:
- Condo apartments and multi-unit complexes for sale
- Townhouses for sale
- ½ duplexes
to go back to my buyer client question, townhouses and ½ duplexes both area strata. ½ duplexes are similar to a single family detached that is split in to two different lots. 
Some ½ duplexes have monthly strata fees and some don’t. in depends on how the 2 neighbor decided to run both properties and treat their common property. 

In reality townhouse and ½ duplexes are very similar in nature of strata, but have many types that separates them in regards to restriction, and the strata management.

Purchasing a strata property requires many research including reviewing all strata documents and financials. Contact me if you’re thinking of buying or selling an strata unit and I’d be happy to help you during this process.
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