Are Townhouse Rentals Your Best Option?

May 7th 2016

Are Town-home Rentals Your Best Option?

In cities like San Francisco, young professionals are moving out of traditional apartments and into town-homes. While town-homes in some cities can be converted into apartments, most townhouses are still considered to be single-family homes. Their appeal seems to lie in the townhouse's ability to create dense neighborhoods but still maintain a sense of privacy and space between neighbors. Young professionals are also finding these homes to be a less expensive housing option when compared to rising apartment rental costs.

Town-homes Versus Apartments

Town-homes are becoming more popular among renters for their increased sense of privacy. While town-homes typically share two exterior walls with nearby homes, renters are not expected to live above or below another tenant. As a result, townhouses are often quieter than most apartments. However, people who rent town-homes may sacrifice amenities available at many apartment complexes, such as on-site laundry facilities and private gyms. 

Tenants searching for more square footage may also consider townhouse living. Townhouses are often smaller than freestanding dwellings, but are often larger than similarly priced apartments. Families and couples may also find that the multiple floors of a typical townhouse, even if they are the same size as an apartment, offer more privacy for individuals living together.

Some city renters have found that townhouses can be less expensive than apartments. In exchange for lower rent, these city workers often have longer commutes. Depending on the location of the townhouse, tenants may have to seek alternative public transportation or purchase a private vehicle for commuting. This added expense can often diminish any savings on monthly rent. However, townhouses are often available in areas that still have many of the benefits of city living or are within city limits. Townhouse tenants are often still able to walk to stores and restaurants, as well as use public transportation, like buses and trains.

Freestanding Homes Versus Town-homes

A freestanding home typically offers the largest amount of privacy and square footage for renters. In exchange for these additional perks, most house tenants live in suburban or rural areas. While many renters prefer the additional isolation, the location may lengthen a work commute and make errands more difficult. 

Most houses have larger yards than comparable townhouses. This advantage can be significant for families with children, avid gardeners or people with pets. Of course, larger yards also require more maintenance. It's also typically the responsibility of the tenant to maintain the yard. 

People who move from an apartment in an urban environment directly into a freestanding home in the suburbs may feel isolated. Cars are required for most errands, so it is even less likely that renters will bump into friends and acquaintances. Some prospective tenants will consider this fact to be a significant advantage, while other renters may prefer the more densely populated neighborhoods created by townhouses.

Depending on the location, townhouses may be more plentiful than freestanding homes. Areas like Philadelphia are famous for their rowhouses, which are considered a type of townhouse. In these cases, available townhouses can offer architectural detailing and history that will be unmatched by freestanding homes within the same price range.

Should You Move Into a Town-home?

Unhappy apartment dwellers who still prefer urban environments often find townhouses to be an attractive rental option. The increased square footage, privacy and access to outdoor spaces can make townhouses immensely appealing. Renters who enjoy having large private yards and dislike urban living may prefer to seek house rentals in their area. However, for many prospective tenants, townhouses represent the perfect balance between crowded urban living and a more leisurely suburban life.


  • Townhouses offer more privacy than apartments but less than freestanding homes.
  • Tenants who prefer highly populated or rural living should skip townhouse rentals when searching for new housing.
  • Houses offer more square footage and larger yards than all other rental options.


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