• A townhouse is a unique type of property that has two self-contained, individual homes stacked upon each other.
  • The respective owners access their properties via different entrances.
  • Usually affordably priced, it allows occupants to enjoy the living environment of a landed property.

In Malaysia, a townhouse is often mistaken for a regular terrace house from the outside. However, it is actually a unique type of property that consists of two self-contained, individual homes that are stacked upon each other. 

(Pick your choice for a terrace house here.)

If you wish to stay in a landed property but at the same time want to enjoy the facilities offered in a condominium, then perhaps, a townhouse could be your answer. This is where you can enjoy the best of both worlds – the privacy and the facilities! 

A townhouse address may even get you your preferred locale and ideal neighbourhood.

Sounds good, but what is a townhouse?

A house in the town? 

Yes, you are right, but only if you are referring to how the term was used in the 18th century. Back then, it literally referred to a “home” kept “in town” (London) by a wealthy landowner or noble. 

While their primary residences were in the countryside, these families would bring their entire households into the city for social gatherings, balls and other events at different times throughout the year. The properties (townhouses) which were located in the town centre would then comfortably fit all of them under a single roof. In other words, this type of house was a compact yet roomy vacation home for these families.

Fast forward to now – in Malaysia, a townhouse is a multi-storey landed property, usually a three to four-storey building that is divided to the upper and lower units and owned by two different owners. Each will have a separate entryway or private entrance – usually through the main front door for the lower unit; and through the back or side door with a stairway leading to the upper unit. 

Both the upper and lower units are self-contained units that do not share any interior space. Each comes with its own bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen and living area. It is also possible the respective occupants rarely meet one another, given that a townhouse is designed in such a way!

However, some townhouses are designed with a shared garden or car porch area.

For a townhouse with a Klang Valley address, click here.

Landed, but stratified

A townhouse is a unique residential development. It is a landed property that comes with a strata title, which is more common for flats, apartments and condominiums. 

This type of property is usually built in a gated-and-guarded community with shared residential facilities that are part of a wider development of the neighbourhood, such as a playground, swimming pool, gym or access to a clubhouse.

This also means owners are obliged to pay for maintenance fees or sinking funds for the upkeep and maintenance of the shared facilities, which are regulated under the Strata  Management Act 2013. While this seems to be an added cost for the owner, do note that a townhouse is relatively smaller and has fewer facilities than other high-rise strata properties. Hence, it is possible the fees will be much lower. 

In addition, owners are not allowed to change the layout or facade of the townhouse (this includes the balconies, external windows and other exterior parts) without the approval of the management corporation. Bound by the shared development agreement, there is also a limit to what the owner can renovate or alter within their properties.

Interested in buying a townhouse? Click here to find one that suits you

Shared repair cost

Buying or renting a townhouse could be an affordable alternative for those who want a landed property, especially in the city, which is a costly affair for many.  

A townhouse is typically priced cheaper than a terrace house. Not only that, if there is any issue with the townhouse property, both owners are required to bear the repair cost – which is relatively good news since the cost is halved and shared! 

So, if you are looking to live in a landed property with some “condo” facilities within a close-knit, low-density neighbourhood, a townhouse might be a good option – be it for first-time homebuyers, singletons or those with families. 

If you are not too sure if living in a townhouse is the thing for you or your family, renting is always a good alternative.

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