The Toronto Real Estate Market – Types of Houses in Toronto
Alongside having a massive cultural diversity, Toronto is also chock-full of different styles of living accommodations.
From condo living in the city’s central core through to townhouses or bungalows on the outskirts of town, the Toronto housing market has plenty to choose from when it comes to the extremely diverse styles of homes that it offers.
In addition to the variety in home styles, Toronto has a massive amount of variance between its neighborhoods, and even between its suburban areas, which are usually thought of a plain, cookie-cutter sprawls of completely undifferentiated homes.
So, to give you a better idea of what types of homes and living accommodations you can find in Toronto’s housing market, we’ve put together this handy list of the many diverse housing styles you can find in the area.
Below, you’ll find a list of the different types of homes found in the city, where we’ll also explain a bit of the history and features of each one.
Types of Housing in Toronto
This house style came to Canada in the early 20th century. And although the term ‘bungalow’ has roots from colonial India, the style was first brought to Canada from California, after colonial Brits began using the Hindi word, “Bangala”, to describes Bengal style homes.
The bungalow style of home is also used today in Britain to describe smaller, cottage-style homes. However, as the term is used often in real estate, it is always used to describe single-story houses.
A bungalow’s most defining feature is its overhanging, low-sloped roof. They also usually have an open porch area off the main doorway, some with a set of supporting columns and a small veranda.
One and a Half-Story Homes
One and a half-story homes were most popular in the post-war era; however, today, they are not as popular as full two-story homes.
Most one and half-story homes have about 60% of their total living space contained on their first floor and only have a bedroom or two on the upper level.
By providing more square-footage on a much smaller footprint of land, these homes are more cost-effective than bungalow style homes, which require larger properties.
Full Two-Story Homes
Let alone in Toronto, two-story homes are arguably one of the most popular styles of home in the whole province.
Not only do two-story homes offer a large main floor living area, but they also have an entirely separate level for sleeping areas and a bathroom or two. And even better, this type of home offers a lot of diversity in terms of floor planning and interior design.
In the Greater Toronto Area, or GTA, two-story homes are most popular in suburbs such as the Markham region, Vaughan, Brampton, Mississauga, Oakville, and Milton.
Sometimes referred to as a tri-level home, the split-level home is a combination of a split-entrance bungalow and a two-story home.
Their first level usually contains several living areas such as a kitchen, separate dining room, and a living room or family room.
These types of home usually offer more than three separate living areas and have a main-level and lower-level family room, kitchen and separate dining area, as well as several upper-level bedrooms.
When split-levels homes first became popular in the area, they were usually built as either a side-split or back-split style of home.
Attached and Detached Homes
In the entire province of Ontario, attached homes are one of the most popular house styles in terms of both pricing and demand, and they also have the highest overall valuation.
But while attached homes may offer a higher valuation, detached homes are preferred by most seeking a house for a family to live in.
In terms of design, both attached and detached homes offer a wide variety of design potential; however, the defining factor is that detached homes do not share any of their walls with a neighboring home.
Another going style of home in the Toronto area is the semi-detached home. These are defined as homes that have one side of the house attached to a neighboring house, while the other side is completely detached.
Townhouses and Rowhousing
Townhouses or rowhouses also abound in the Toronto area, where three or more separate units are joined together in a row of housing units..
Each unit usually has three separate levels: a main living area, full basement, and upper level with bedrooms. However, there are many variations and different floor plans that exist on the Toronto real estate market.
From a developer’s point of view, rowhouses are attractive because they offer a higher population density than attached or detached homes.
Townhouses are normally grouped together in sets between three to six individual units, which are either offered as a freehold unit, where the owner holds the title deed to both the structure and the land, or a condominium title, where the owner only owns the structure but shares the land with the other townhouse owners.
This type of home can be found in almost any area of the GTA, however, they are most commonly found in denser population regions such as Toronto central cores.
Classic Toronto Housing Styles
So far, we’ve covered mostly the more modern styles of homes that can be found in the Greater Toronto Area. However, Toronto has many homes that were built in the earlier parts of the 20th century, which were in reaction to the most popular styles that came before them.
These types of houses in Toronto mostly focused on simple, yet elegant design styles, rather than gaudy embellishments as their main features.
Below, you’ll find a few of the popular Toronto home styles that were built between 1900 and the post-war era.
The Tudor Revival
The Tudor Revival style of architecture comes from Europe and has its roots in the later 1400s, also known as the time of Henry VII. These half-timbered homes offer a rustic feel with an exterior wood design, combined with a brick or stone foundation.
This style of home was a reaction to the much more ornate Victorian style home and was meant to look somewhat like an English cottage.
Tudor Revival homes feature steep roofs, half-timbered structures, casement windows, as well as usually having herringbone brick.
Most of these homes were built between 1900 and 1940 and can be found in areas such as Lawrence Park, Moore Park, Leaside, Rosedale, Forest Hill, and The Kingsway.
This style of home is somewhat of a throwback to Georgian England homes, dating from the 1700s to the mid-1800s.
The Georgian Revival style mainly focuses on symmetry and although it has its roots in more classical times, the style was revived in North America at the onset of the early 20th century.
These homes were commonly built by both upper and middle-class Torontonians, and usually, they have the front entrance centered as the main focal point of the exterior design. They also usually feature columns, and stone, brick, or clapboard exteriors, as well as wood shutters on the windows.
You can find many Georgian Revival homes in the Leaside, Forest Hill, Lawrence Park or Rosedale areas.
Toronto Arts and Craft Homes
These types of Toronto homes have roots in Britain and became popular through the work of architect Eden Smith the early 1900s. Arts and Craft homes were a rejection of the Victorian style of home and focused mainly on function and simplicity, rather than overbearing embellishments.
Most Arts and Craft homes in Toronto have side entrances, which allows for more windows and natural lighting at the front of the house. They usually have large main common rooms with exposed beams and rafters.
These homes are always focused on natural elements and handwork such as wood designs or roughcast facades and slate shingle roofs.
Typically, these homes are planned from the inside out and have an interior design focused on comfort. They can mostly be found in the areas of Wychwood Park, Bloor West Village, High Park, and Lawrence Park.
Art Deco Housing
The Art Deco style was inspired by the Cubism movement, and although the style was extremely popular in France after World War I, it also took off in North America around the 1920s.
The defining features of this style of home embrace streamlined shapes, angular or geometric patterns on the facades, as well as vertical projections, and an overall more modernist style.
Art Deco buildings were often used for Toronto’s office buildings and theaters built between WWI and WWII. The style can be found in many areas of the city, especially near Midtown Toronto.
They are also often found in the South Hill, Forest Hill, Summer Hill, and Bayview areas, as well as the Parkdale region.
Looking for Homes in the Greater Toronto Area?
The GTA is a large area and offers plenty to choose from in terms of different styles of homes. That being said, if you’re looking at homes in the Toronto area, it’s important to take some time to learn about the different styles that can be found throughout the region.