Different Property Types And The Impact On Price | McGrath
Different Property Types And The Impact On Price

Different Property Types And The Impact On Price

05/11/19 | 6 MIN READ

Different types of homes such as freestanding, semi-detached, apartments or terrace command different prices. The most obvious difference is the size of each dwelling but property buyers not only look to price but also what they want and need out of a home as well as considering the design and appeal.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported the most common home configuration in Australia is a three-bedroom property, making up 38.8% of households. 

Freestanding houses are generally larger and have more bedrooms than other dwelling types with an average of three or four bedrooms. Semi-detached and terrace houses have two or three bedrooms and apartments have one or two bedrooms. 

Size of Australia's houses

Australians are choosing to live in smaller homes and apartments because of the proximity to the city, the amenities they offer, less maintenance and a more affordable price.

The average size of new homes and apartments being built in Australia is 189.8 square metres. As there are currently more apartments than houses being built the figures are slightly skewed toward a smaller square metre. 

Of all new properties being built 47 per cent are apartments, which is 20 per cent more than seven years ago. The average freestanding home being built is 233 square metres and has not varied much in the past couple of decades. 

Property type

The four most common types of houses for Australians are semi- detached houses, townhouses and terraces, freestanding houses and apartments. On average at least 70% Australians live in freestanding houses with at least three bedrooms, less than 10% live in townhouses or terraces.

Apartment living is most common in capital cities, particularly in Sydney, with 23% of households living in apartments, according to the ABS. This could be put down to the lack of available land around Australia's cities and the high price to buy.


These are properties that share one common wall with a neighbour and generally located closer to the inner city, due to the reduced footprint they take up.  A semi is usually more affordable than a freestanding house in a similar location but you have to take into consideration that your neighbours only separate you by one wall. 

Many of these homes have unique character because of the period they were built in but they can be more difficult to renovate or extend due to being attached to another house.  A big bonus is most semis have an area of garden out the back and this is becoming rare when living in close proximity to the city these days.

Townhouses and terraces

Sharing walls on both sides of the property makes these dwellings somewhere between an apartment and freestanding home.  Larger than an apartment and located close to the CBD they offer a lot of character. Again these houses are more affordable than free standing and you get a bit of outdoor area.


Freestanding houses

The biggest advantages of a freestanding property are privacy and space. You share no walls with neighbours, have a good size garden and greater flexibility to renovate and extend.

Per square-metre a freestanding house is generally the most expensive type of property but they have a history of high capital growth. 


Apartments look like being the dwelling of the future for Australians living near cities.  With increasing population and house price out of reach, many people are looking to apartment living. It is a great option for people who don't want to spend time on maintenance and take advantage of shared amenities. For this privilege you do sacrifice some of your privacy.

Included in many apartment buildings are swimming pools, gyms, rooftop areas and communal gardens. The strata fees you pay cover the upkeep of these facilities. There are also a number of by-laws you need to follow when buying into a strata scheme and can include the restriction of pets, smoking, barbecues on balconies and sub-letting.

Styles of Australian houses

Australia adopted much of its architectural ideas from England in its early days but these days we have formed our own style to work with the Australian lifestyle and climate. Some buyers have their heart set on a certain style of architecture and with modern renovations many older style properties are fetching high prices at market.


Typically made from brick this style of home includes terraces which feature cast-iron lacework, fireplaces, moulded timberwork, decorative plaster ceilings, turned-timber balustrades, steep and narrow stairs and small windows. 

Living and dining rooms tend to be at the front of the house with kitchens at the back. Bedrooms are either off the hallway or upstairs if it's a two-storey terrace. Victorian properties are found in the older areas of cities and towns and are some of the oldest Australian homes.


Red bricks a feature of the Federation style with stained glass, bay windows, return verandas, tessellated tiles, pressed-metal ceilings, finials, turned-timber posts and fretwork, a long central corridor, and roofs in either slate or terracotta tiles are all features of Federation houses. It is also common to see painted ornate timber detailing with Australian animal and flower motifs.

Art Deco

This is an art, style and design movement seen in the period from the 1920s to 1930s. Identifiable features of this style include curved facades, decorative brickwork, geometric elements, chevron patterns, metal-framed windows, parquetry floors, timber-veneer wall panelling, built-in joinery and pastel coloured tiles contrasting with black. 

California Bungalow

Adopted from California at a time where American culture started to influence Australian society through music and film. The brick or rendered brick columns that hold up the front veranda are the most iconic feature of the California Bungalow. In Australia this style was constructed from brick but in the US they were mainly made from shingles or horizontal siding.


Found in Queensland and northern NSW the Queenslander was designed to withstand floods, heat and pests. Dating back to the 1840s the style is still being constructed today. Usually built from timber the house is raised off the ground by stumps which was a practical design for areas prone to flooding. Queenslanders have a large veranda and may have a partly enclosed area for year-round use.


Today's homes are all about open-plan living that combine a kitchen, dining and entertainment area all in one room. Other features include a parents' retreat, hotel-style bathrooms and a family room. Alfresco living is also popular with outdoor entertaining areas that include a built in kitchen, fireplace and pergola with rendered and painted finishes.


Have more questions about how to buy a house or apartment? Get loads more information here.

The McGrath Real Estate Guide to Buying a House

Buying a Home Inspection Checklist

Buying an Apartment Inspection Checklist

Buying? Do you understand the home loan process?

What neighbourhood features can add value to a property?


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