Despite their unflattering moniker “copy-paste houses”, standardized buildings have been with us throughout various stages of historical development and they are still popular today. They represent a more affordable form of housing. Buying a terraced house is not a difficult task - at least it’s no more difficult than buying any other kind of house or apartment. You decide based on your budget and preferred location, do your market research and find the best seller.
At present, terraced houses are offered, among others, by numerous developers in Prague 4 and 5. What could make your decision easier?
● Multiple levels and categories
You can decide for yourself how many floors your house should have - the most common option is the ground floor and first floor, but you can often find houses with a habitable attic, widely used as a bedroom or study with a bathroom. The choice on the market is diverse, so you’ll sure to find the layout you want.
Compared to apartments, terraced houses are usually very spacious, both in terms of floor area and associated outdoor spaces - gardens with seating, a barbecue area, or even a small pool.
● Minimal maintenance
Terrace houses have a great advantage in that their maintenance costs are much lower. Common areas, courtyards and terraces are being maintained - you don't have to worry about mowing grass or removing wild weeds. Unless you find some inside of your home, that is.
● Valet service
There are no problems with parking spaces in terraced houses. You can park your vehicle either behind the gate in front of the house or near the house, where you can still see it.
● Neighbourly relations
Although not everyone might consider this a benefit, likeable neighbours are always a good thing and they can also be helpful. Buying a terraced house can help you create a pleasant environment to live in.
● Pleasant uniformity
Buying a terraced house creates harmony and unity, as most of these houses are similar. They have the same shape, structure and size.
● "Tailor-made" equipment
Simplicity and convenience play a key role in purchasing a terraced house. Each developer offers different services, but usually, it is possible to choose from a wide range of materials and additional equipment according to your taste.
● Effective resale
Terrace house can be sold easily and efficiently, so if you ever decide to move, you probably won't have a problem. Modern potentialities of terraced houses attract more and more people.
Interesting facts from history: Magnificent Baťa's houses
Despite their unflattering moniker “copy-paste houses”, standardized buildings have been with us throughout various stages of historical development and they are still popular today. They represent a more affordable form of housing.
In the past, they were built, for example, in colonies of terraced houses in Zlín. The so-called Baťa's houses definitely belong to the architecturally successful ones. The first of them were built in a workers' colony, designed by the architect Jan Kotěra for the Baťa company in the Letná district of Zlín. Several other colonies grew up in other parts of Zlín. In their time, the houses provided above-standard housing with electricity and running water. And the architect designed them with greenery in mind: the individual plots of land are not separated by fences and the gardens seamlessly meld into nature. Baťa's houses are not all exactly the same, the very first ones had mansard roofs and plaster walls, and there are only a few of them.
Prague Ořechovka and other Freiwald works
Another example that proves standardized houses do not always have to be boring are the apartment buildings in Prague's Ořechovka. The man behind these standardized buildings is architect Jindřich Freiwald. Immediately after the war, in 1919, he designed terraced houses for the Ořechovka villa colony in Klidná and Dělostřelecká streets. The Na Perníkářce apartment buildings or the cooperative apartment buildings in Čelakovského Street from 1920 also count among his creations.
In the first half of the 1920s, Freiwald and Jaroslav Böhm focused mainly on developing ideal layouts and decorative forms of affordable housing. This gave birth to ideal semi-detached and quad houses, which represent an original stylistic synthesis. They combined elements of purely modernist style, promoted by the Kotěra School before the war, with elements borrowed from folk architecture and local, regional sources or from historical architecture.
Terraced houses of this type were realized by Freiwald and Böhm in Kolín, Sušice (the "Venice" district from 1924), in Duchcov (1922–1924), or in competitions for standardized houses for Spořilov (1925) and Mělník (1927).
Interesting facts from the world
Terraced houses are being built in various parts of the world. In England or America, for example, they are called townhouses, and unlike in our country, certain community rules may apply there.
America - age restrictions
"In North America, the townhouse evolved and became known as a multi-storey house built on a small area,"
explains real estate professional Todd Mahovlich.
"The houses were usually within walking distance of public transport and industrial areas and were luxurious enough to satisfy even the rich."
While initially popular in big cities such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco, the townhouse eventually became a base accommodation in hundreds of cities across the country.
Today, buying a townhouse in America often involves the life of like-minded households. Terraced houses are mostly operated by homeowners' associations that oversee the day-to-day running of the community and set the rules, including the maintenance of common areas and garbage disposal. Usually, the association also decides about the colour of the outer walls of the house.
In America, it is even possible to set rules stipulating who will be allowed to live in the house, the size and number of pets may be limited, and in some cases, a minimum age of the inhabitants may be set. The owner of the house agrees to comply with the contracts, conditions and restrictions of the Association of Apartment/House Owners when purchasing a home.
Owning a terraced house in the States isn’t necessarily cheaper than a family house, because in the case of terraced houses, the cooperative may require participation in joint investments, for example when the roof needs repair or replacement.
However, the price of the terraced house itself is generally lower than in the case of a detached family house of the same size and location. That's why terraced houses are a good starting point for first-time buyers and for people with a limited budget.
For example, the median cost of a family home in San Francisco is $ 1.61 million, and the cost of an apartment in San Francisco (which falls somewhere between a townhouse and a family home) is $ 1.17 million.
England - origins in the 18th century
In England, the typical terraced houses we know from movies are usually called townhouses. Wealthy British landowners and nobility coined this term in the 18th century. It was at a time when a huge number of families packed their belongings and moved from farms to cities in hopes for a better life. They brought along their entire households - servants and numerous offspring - ready to enjoy all the conveniences of city life - social events, balls and "afternoon tea at five o'clock".
Townhouses allowed these wealthy families to comfortably fit into a single property in the middle of the city without owning a lot of land, as was the case in the countryside.
Still thinking about buying a terraced house?
Terraced houses may have taken root in the suburbs in the 21st century, but they still tend to be situated in very attractive locations with all civic amenities. So, even though you won’t get to live in the middle of the hottest district in the city centre, but you will definitely have everything you need at your fingertips.
In general, townhouses are usually located in large cities and urban areas where single-family homes are more expensive or non-existent. This means that the location of a townhouse is ideal for those who enjoy living close to the city centres, top restaurants, entertainment opportunities, parks and public transport. Those who are seeking a house with the advantages of a big city without the price of a family house or the inconvenience of a high-rise building will find what they’re looking for here.
For buyers who are buying their first home, living in a terraced house is an ideal alternative to owning a family house.