House Types Explained

We often get asked “What’s the difference between a house, a 2 storey and a terrace,  a duplex and a townhouse and a villa?

Managing director and qualified Town planner Vas Spaseski says there are a dozen different classes of buildings under the Building Code of Australia, but each state and territory has different definitions for each specific type of dwelling.

Local councils also have different interpretations so its a good idea to speak to either your builder to find out what you’re options are when building  on your block.

To help you out we have tried to break it down a little bit for you


Terrace homes are gaining a lot of momentum in WA at the moment, and although they were typically found in the inner city, terrace lots are now popping up in new subdivisions both north and south of the river.

Part of this popularity is that they are highly affordability and allow homeowners to get into a 2 storey home for a fraction of the cost. They are usually close to amenities,  and public transport and offer low-maintenance or lock and leave living which is also popular amongst older homeowners.

Homes can range from a single storey to 3 storeys high, and usually have front and back gardens or courtyards. Most terraces share dividing walls.

Most terrace homes still have a title which means you own the land & the house sits on.

There has been a huge influx of buyers chasing Terrace House & Land Packages to capitalise on the grants that are available until the 31st December.


Single dwellings are stand-alone homes and owners have the title to the land and any structures within its boundaries.

Homes can be  the standard Australian home in either single or 2 storey on any size lot and can sometimes have a granny flat on the same block.

Usually equipped with some yard and garden space for children it is a popular choice amongst families.

Land rates, insurance, water, gas and electricity bills are not shared by a strata and are the responsibility of the owner.



A duplex/triplex consists of 2/3 individual dwelling units combined into one building, with the individual units sharing one or two common walls. Each unit in the development has its own kitchen, bathroom(s), living room, separate doors to the outside, and its own address or unit number.

They can be on a single title or multiple titles, allowing each dwelling to be individually owned and sold.

Because they require less land than freestanding homes, this option is a popular with investors, but is also popular for those wishing to enter the housing market or to downsize to a smaller premises.

In some cases, common areas such as shared accessways and these may form common property with access areas only being subject to a body corporate.


Apartments are a room or a group of related rooms, among similar sets in one building, designed for use as a dwelling.  The buyer owns the dwelling but shares ownership of the land and common property with other owners in the complex.

Most are strata-titled, which means buyers must pay annual levies to a body corporate that takes care of common property maintenance, insurance and compliance matters.

If you would like any further information on any of the above please don’t hesitate to contact one of our friendly new homes consultants on 6365 3771