Choosing a house or an apartment - in other words, our new home - is not something we do every day. It is often a lifelong investment, that is if we're among the lucky ones who can afford to buy their place to live. Deciding what type of house to buy can be difficult. Due to the fact that demand exceeds supply, apartment prices are still rising steeply, even more than in the case of houses. A terraced house can therefore be a great solution.
Our needs change throughout life. We never know how long we will live in our apartment and what life changes our house or apartment will have to adapt to in the future. Our family can grow, we might want to buy a pet, our mother or mother-in-law can move in with us, or we might start longing for city life instead of living in the countryside.
A terraced house is "something in between"
“Family houses have a fairly wide price range. In case of cheaper projects outside the centre of Prague, you can buy a terraced house for about 13 million crowns. If you want to live in the wider downtown area, the prices start at 20 million and go up to 30 million crowns. Terraced houses in this price range have become competitive with 3-bedroom and 5-bedroom apartments, both with their prices and the lifestyle they offer,"
says Elena Jakubovič, founder of a real estate agency.
What currently meets our needs and budget may be completely out of our price range in five years. You should therefore be interested in finding out the benefits of buying an apartment, a family house, or a terraced house.
The popularity of terraced houses keeps growing. Why?
"Almost two thirds of buyers choose their house based on their commuting to work. They are willing to sacrifice the extra space of detached houses for the chance to live closer to the city, have an active social life and reduce long commutes,"
says Jitka Konvičková from a development company that currently has terraced houses in its offer.
A number of successful developers have begun to build family house projects consisting of terraced houses, especially in the last decade.
Terraced houses have the advantage that they can be built anywhere, whether in the city or in the countryside. Everything is up to the developer. A multitude of houses can be built on a relatively small plot of land, and they represent a very interesting alternative between living in an apartment and a family house, without the disadvantages of an apartment. The prices are comparable.
Remote parts of small districts are attractive for developers thanks to their price, but terraced houses have recently begun to be built even in cities.
Standardised buildings are "in"
Before the pandemic, housing was more affordable for many than ever before, yet not everyone has the means to build a house according to an individual architectural project. Interest in standardized and terraced houses, therefore, doesn't wane.
Today's standardized or terraced houses are much more diverse than they used to be. This is due not only to the diverse range of developers who offer these houses, but also to the big palette of building materials and technologies available.
Terraced houses can nowadays be built of bricks, but also of wood, they can be composite or prefabricated houses. Individual layout adjustments and changes in interior equipment are another way to add variability to those standardised homes. Every buyer can choose what they like - from tiles, through doors to floors or retrofitting the terrace.
Impress your distinctive style on your home
"I see that there is currently a fairly wide range of terraced houses on the market and every developer is trying to push through their product. Although all of these projects look similar at first glance, each of them is completely different. It is better to look at more offers and choose between different architectures, standards and developers - each of them has its pros and cons. I would recommend not to be afraid of personalizing the interior of your terraced house. Not only will it mirror its owner, but it will also be different from other houses in the area, in case you decide to sell it,"
advises Elena Jakubovič.
The level of changes that still correspond to the definition of a standardized house depends individually on each company that offers these projects.
"In the last four years, the construction of family houses has been on the rise. According to data from the Czech Statistical Office, almost 20,000 of them are built every year. More were built only between 2006 and 2008. With the growing prices of new buildings in larger cities, such as Prague, Brno or Pilsen, people are more interested in building their own family houses in their vicinity. From here, they travel to these larger cities for work, shopping and entertainment,”
says Radek Polák, a spokesman for one of the development companies.
According to data from the Statistical Office mapping the last 20 years of construction of terraced houses, these homes enjoyed the greatest success in the years 2006 to 2008. In 2006, 20,620 terraced houses were built, in 2007 it was more than 300 more and the strongest year so far was 2008, when 22,918 terraced houses were built. This was followed by a gradual decline, which reached its bottom between 2013 and 2014 (2013 - 12,490 terraced houses, 2014 - 12,440). Then the curve began to rise again and reached its peak in 2019, when 19,947 apartment buildings were built. Last year was worse by only 500 units, but the construction of terraced houses is still experiencing a period of boom.
You might share a wall, but you'll be paying the costs yourself
If you already know all the advantages that living in a terraced house offers, all you have to do is choose from the large selection on the market. However, you also need to be aware of the fact that not every housing unit in a terraced house is part of the Association of Housing Unit Owners (SVJ).
This means that if anything in your apartment breaks, or if you need to, for example, replace the roof, you shouldn't rely on the SVJ to solve the problem for you or expect that other residents of your terraced house will share in the costs. It's going to be your job to arrange the repairs and possible innovations, as you are the owner of the apartment unit. In this respect, our SJVs differ from actual community housing in the United States, for example.
“Unlike an apartment, a terraced house can have its own separate entrance or entrances (in case of two-generation terraced houses). On the other hand, unlike an apartment, it's not a barrier-free property. Such houses don't come with elevators, although some developers offer them as part of early client changes. A terraced house may or may not have a garden, but compared to an apartment, it will always offer more privacy,"
adds Elena Jakubovič.
“The cost of repairs is covered by each ownerr separately. Each of them is identified by a separate number in the national cadastral register, which means that the owners of terraced houses do not form a community of owners, and everyone pays for the repairs themselves."
On the other hand, it deserves to be mentioned that even this kind of community housing has certain advantages. Terraced are usually located in common complexes, have a shared reception or security, as well as common greenery and resting areas. They usually include playgrounds, benches, flower beds and parks, with the latest developments featuring even water elements. All these new shiny features are very nice and give your home a pleasant and unique atmosphere.
Good starting home
When it comes to privacy, a terraced house is somewhere between an apartment and a detached family house. These buildings are typical in that they are connected by side walls with neighbouring properties, forming a row of houses.
The difference between a terraced house and an apartment is confusing. Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same. Both share at least one wall with a neighbour, but apartments can be surrounded by neighbours on all sides - walls, floor and ceiling - similar to an apartment building. Terraced houses share only one wall.
This construction saves space and costs for utilities. The fact that the houses don't stand alone makes energy savings possible and the inhabitants of terraced houses can also enjoy a garden, which they wouldn't have in an apartment building. And there are more savings in the construction of new terraced houses, such as common project documentation.
A detached family house, on the other hand, doesn't have any shared walls and stands on its own plot. It offers more privacy and a bigger garden, but it will also cost you more.
“There is a lot of interest in terraced houses. They represent good starting housing for young families, boomers, millennials as well as singles, who like to indulge in the comfort of having their own house without the duties attached to maintaining a large family house with a garden. In addition, terraced houses are also affordable and you'll typically find them in attractive locations, which is also true in the case of Prague,"
adds Jakub Švorm from a development office.
The terraced arrangement of family houses takes up less space than the construction of detached houses in a garden, and at the same time, terraced houses s are more cost-effective thanks to sharing the costs of bringing the networks to the plot. A terraced house provides less privacy than a detached house standing in the middle of the plot, but much more privacy than living in apartment buildings.
In the Czech Republic, terraced houses are usually larger maisonettes on the outskirts of Prague or another larger city, or in a new development that provides all the comforts of modern family living. Some may believe that standardized family houses offer less comfort, since it's necessary to adapt to the design and concept of the project to a certain extent. However, it's not a rule.
The benefits clearly outweigh the negatives
Terraced houses generally offer less space in front of and behind the house, so their total adjacent land is usually smaller. Also, because they are usually built near a large city, they are often grouped in and around city centres, but often have less interior and exterior space than family houses. The proximity of neighbours and shared walls is often a disadvantage of terraced houses due to increased noise and reduced privacy.
But while living in a terraced house can be a pain for some, others love it. People most often mind the uniformity, they have a problem with their neighbours being too close, some are bothered by not being able to make the exterior facade the way they want. Nevertheless, the benefits still outweigh the negatives.