According to the 2021 census data, of the 14,978,940 occupied private dwellings in Canada, 52.6% were single-detached houses, 5% were semi detached houses, 6.5% were row-houses, 5.5% were apartments in a duplex, 18.3% were apartments in a building with less than 5 storeys, 10.7% were apartments in a 5 or more storeyed building, 0.2% were other single-attached houses and 1.3% were movable dwellings.
Read our housing market report to know more about the current prices of different types of dwellings in the major cities of Canada.
The following table shows the change in number and % composition of all occupied dwellings in Canada from between 2016 and 2021. It can be seen that in these 5 years, detached houses have lost maximum % of market share (1%) while apartments in a 5 storeyed or higher building have gained the most market share (0.8%). That said, of all houses built between 2016 and 2021, about a third (36.5%) were detached houses.
|Structural Type of Dwelling||Single-Detached House||Semi-Detached House||Row House||Apartment in a Duplex||Apartment in a Building With Fewer Than 5 Storeys||Apartment in a Building with 5 or More Storeys||Other Single Attached House||Movable Dwelling||Total|
|Count (%) In 2021||7,872,305 (52.6%)||746,560 (5%)||980,110 (6.5%)||821,495 (5.5%)||2,738,020 (18.3%)||1,596,155 (10.7%)||34,880 (0.2%)||189,420 (1.3%)||14,978,940 (100%)|
|Count (%) In 2016||7,541,495 (53.6%)||698,795 (5%)||891,305 (6.3%)||784,300 (5.6%)||2,539,390 (18%)||1,391,040 (9.9%)||36,005 (0.3%)||189,755 (1.3%)||14,072,080 (100%)|
|Structural Type of Dwelling||Apartment in a Duplex||Apartment in a Building With Fewer Than 5 Storeys|
|Count (%) In 2021||821,495 (5.5%)||2,738,020 (18.3%)|
|Count (%) In 2016||784,300 (5.6%)||2,539,390 (18%)|
|Structural Type of Dwelling||Apartment in a Building with 5 or More Storeys||Other Single Attached House||Movable Dwelling|
|Count (%) In 2021||1,596,155 (10.7%)||34,880 (0.2%)||89,420 (1.3%)|
|Count (%) In 2016||1,391,040 (9.9%)||36,005 (0.3%)||189,755 (1.3%)|
One of the most common types of houses in Canada is detached houses. A detached house is essentially a house that does not share a wall or isn’t attached with another house and has open space on all sides.
These houses usually have a front yard and a backyard, and offer more space and privacy than other types of houses. The owners of detached houses own the entire unit and also the land upon which it is built. Thus, the owners are free to make changes to such dwellings as long as they are permissible under the local municipal guidelines. These are usually the most expensive kinds of houses in an area and the owners are responsible for all the utility payments, repairs and maintenance. The annual property tax of detached houses is also higher compared to other housing types as their value is more. There can be different types of detached houses:
This is the most common type of detached house in Canada in recent times. The rooms are split across 2 storeys, where the lower level typically houses living and working spaces, while the upper level has the sleeping spaces. These houses usually have a basement that may be finished or unfinished. 2-storey homes offer efficient utilization of the available plot area making them a popular choice for a home.
A bungalow is a type of detached home which has all of the rooms on one level. Occasionally, a bungalow may have a study room or a bedroom on the attic level built inside the sloping roof, which is accessible by stairs. These houses may or may not have a basement. These are an older style of dwelling and are uncommon in cities, but are still found in rural areas.
Split level houses are houses where the main floor is split across different levels that are connected with a short flight of steps instead of a full staircase.
Very often, a split-level home features a main level with the living, dining and kitchen spaces, from where a half flight staircase leads up to the bedrooms while another half flight of staircase leads down to the basement recreation space under the bedrooms. This is generally a staggered structure making it a great choice for building on sloping plots. However, these types of houses are rarely built in today’s time. Split houses often have features such as integrated garages, low pitched roofs and multiple attics.
The most common types of split houses are:
|Side split||Back split|
In a side split house, one side of the house is split into two levels. Usually the split lower level is the garage or basement and the split upper level is a bedroom. One enters at the dwelling at the main level that houses the living and dining spaces.
In a back split house, the back portion of the house is split into two levels. These types of houses are often built on sloping sites where the back half of the house is split into a basement on the lower level and sleeping spaces on the upper level. They may look like single or two storey homes from the front.
A 1.5 storey home has 2 floors, however, the second floor does not cover the entire area of the ground floor. The smaller upstairs area usually houses a bedroom. This style of a house lets you have additional space without having to build an entire second floor.
Traditionally in Canada, cottages are homes close to nature that are not too big, but can comfortably accommodate families for a short duration. These homes are usually meant for vacations and often have large decks opening to the surrounding natural setting. Nowadays, much bigger and luxurious properties are also being built, which are used for vacation rentals.
Read more about the best places to buy a cottage in Ontario.
A semi-detached house is a house where two dwellings share a common wall. These dwellings are most often side-by-side sharing a side wall, but could also be back-to-back, sharing a back wall.
In such a dwelling, the owners of the two semi-detached units usually enjoy their own front and back yards but may have to share a driveway and some other common elements such as fences. Similar to a detached house, the owners own the land on which the unit is built and are responsible for its upkeep. These houses are cheaper than detached houses but come with some level of compromise on privacy.
Townhouses are two or three storey dwellings attached to other units on either side with a shared wall called a party wall. Unlike rowhouses, townhouses don’t share a common facade and aren’t necessarily uniform. While row houses line up in a row along a street, stretching along an entire block, townhouses are usually built in smaller groupings.
In Canada, townhouses being built these days are often planned in clusters or as a part of a planned unit development (PUD) having shared amenities such as a playground or a swimming pool. A homeowners’ association (HOA) manages the upkeep of the common amenities for a fee, and also sets rules and regulations for the community.
Townhouses are a cheaper alternative to detached and semi-detached houses while still being an independent unit. Townhouses may also have their own separate front yards and backyards, however they are usually smaller than those of detached and semi-detached houses. They almost always have private garages and rooftop patios are also a common feature. These days luxury townhouses are gaining popularity as an alternative to detached houses in the large cities of Canada. The main types of townhouses in Canada are:
The owners are responsible for the maintenance of the entire unit, and the front and back yards. The owners of freehold townhouses own the land on which the townhouse is built. The owners have greater autonomy over the property in this kind of a setting but also come with a greater responsibility of maintaining their property.
These are townhouses that are a part of a condo corporation which owns and maintains the exterior spaces like the front yard, parking and common amenities. The owners pay the corporation a monthly maintenance fee that covers the expenses of the upkeep of these spaces and the common amenities that come under the condominium board. This is ideal for those who don’t want to deal with responsibilities such as snow clearing and lawn mowing.
Stacked townhouses literally mean townhouses stacked on top of each other. Each townhouse is split into multiple levels. They all have their separate front door entrances and open spaces. Stacked townhouses can give the feeling of living in conventional 2-storey homes for a much cheaper price and are becoming popular in the bigger cities of Canada.
A multifamily property that has two (duplex), three (triplex) or four (fourplex) dwelling units in a single building, under a common roof, all of which have separate entrances and separate utility meters is commonly known as a ‘plex’.
The units on the upper floors are usually accessed through external staircases. Very often, the owner occupies one of the units and rents out the rest of the units. However, it is possible to have different owners for all the units or for all the units to be rented out by the common owner. Investors are often interested in such properties as they generally incur a lower cost of maintenance because of their consolidated nature. Some owners are able to cover their mortgage costs from the rents collected from the rental units, without having to pay anything from their pocket. Plexes are a common type of housing in the larger cities of Quebec.
Read more about landlord and tenant insurance.
A low-rise apartment building is a multi-unit residential dwelling structure with one to four storeys. These apartments usually do not have an elevator and have fewer amenities than a mid-rise or high-rise apartment.
Apartment units can be of different configurations and sizes such as studio, 1 bedroom, 1 bedroom+den, 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom, lofts and penthouses. There is a shared main entrance to the building and secondary accesses to the individual apartments from within the building. There are two types of apartments based on their ownership:
Commonly known as condos, condominiums are buildings or building complexes with multiple units, where the units are individually owned while the common areas are jointly owned. Common amenities in condo complexes often include amenities such as a lobby, fitness center, pool and parking garage.
Condo owners are responsible for the maintenance of their individual units while a condo corporation is responsible for the maintenance of the shared elements. A condo corporation is a legal entity that represents the common interests of the condo owners and governs the condo building or complex. All the owners are a part of the condo corporation, and together elect a board of directors who manage the reserve fund and make management decisions on behalf of all the owners.
The condo owners pay a monthly maintenance fee to the condo corporation for the upkeep of the common areas and shared amenities. At the same time, condo owners are responsible for the maintenance of their individual units. The owners are also responsible for paying property taxes for their property.
Condos are often a popular choice with first-time home buyers and downsizers.
The main difference between a condominium and a rental apartment is the ownership. Rental apartments are units in a building that are owned by a single entity and are rented to tenants, usually on a monthly rental basis.
Typically, a landlord or a property management company owns the entire building and sets rules and regulations for all the tenants. Such buildings usually have maintenance staff to carry out all maintenance and repair work in the building and in the individual units. Low-rise apartments usually have fewer amenities than their mid and high rise counterparts and are usually cheaper to rent.
Rental apartments are a great option for people planning to live in a city for a limited duration or don’t want to get into the maintenance and expense obligations attached to owning a home.
Mid and high-rise apartment buildings are multi-unit residential dwelling structures with five or more storeys. They usually offer better security and amenities than low-rise apartments. Similar to low-rise apartments, mid and high rise apartments can also be divided into two categories based on ownership:
Similar to low rise condo apartments, mid and high rise condo apartments also consist of individually owned units and jointly owned common areas. These are larger buildings or complexes that come with a spectrum of amenities.
Similar to low-rise condos, the owners pay the property taxes for their unit. The owners are responsible for maintaining their units and pay a monthly fee to the condo corporation for the maintenance of the common areas. Owners of units in such condo buildings often pay more monthly maintenance than in a low rise condo building. On top of the common amenities such as lobby, fitness center, pool and underground parking garages, larger condo developments also offer amenities such as lounges, cafes, party halls, common terraces with barbecues and business centers. Some high-rise condo developments in the larger cities also have shops and restaurants on their lower floors.
In recent years, high rise condos have gained popularity and are becoming a preferred choice for city living. With the growing real estate prices, condos remain a relatively cheaper option for owning a residence within the city.
These are apartment buildings with five or more storeys that are meant for rental purposes. Similar to mid and high rise condos, these rental apartment buildings often have common amenities such as elevators, fitness center, security, underground parking garage and pool.
Similar to low-rise apartments, they are owned by a single entity, often a property management company, that maintains the units and common areas, manages the rental agreements, and also sets the regulations for the tenants.
Mobile homes are single dwellings that are capable of being relocated or transported from one place to another on short notice.
The owners do not own the land upon which such homes are placed, unless purchased separately, and are therefore much cheaper than the traditional housing types. Mobile homes are usually insulated to make them suitable for winter months and are thus habitable all year round. Unlike other types of homes, mobile homes are usually considered a depreciating asset. Most common types of mobile homes in Canada are:
They are homes that can temporarily be placed on a foundation and are often built on a chassis that makes it possible to port them.
Compact homes accommodated inside a big vehicle such as a van. They are a popular choice among travelers looking to travel for a long time.
As suggested by the name, they are homes that are designed to float on water bodies. They are usually very small in size with efficient use of space. They come with risks such as risk of drowning, disturbance due to bad weather and limited access to public amenities.