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Buying a Condo in Calgary: Different Types of Condominiums in Alberta

by Anastasia Dvorak
Types of condos you can buy in Calgary Alberta by Calgary Lifestyle Guide

So you are thinking of buying a condo for sale in Calgary, Alberta, Canada but what type of condominium should you buy? There are so many different styles of condominiums in Canada. In this article, we will focus on condo options in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Here are 6 different types of condominiums you can buy in Calgary (with pictures):

Styles/Types of Condominiums (Condos) in Calgary:

  1. Duplex
  2. Townhouse
  3. Rowhouse
  4. Villa
  5. Apartment
  6. Bareland condo

Attached property (sharing a wall with a neighbour)

All of the properties I’ve mentioned above are attached properties. An attached property shares at least one common wall with another unit (e.g., a duplex (also called semi-detached) or a row house (e.g., a townhouse). Sometimes you have to pay a condo fee (depends on the property). An attached property can have a condominium form of ownership (share the common property with other owners + pay a monthly condo fee) or freehold (no condo fee). Note that detached properties are almost always freehold properties (no condo fee). Note: There is one special case where the detached property can have a condo fee (and be a condominium) – a bareland condo. You can read about it in this article.

IMPORTANT NOTE: WHAT IS A CONDOMINIUM?

A condominium is a form of ownership – not the type of style of a property!! Most attached properties such as apartments, villas, townhouses, duplexes, and rowhouses are condominiums. You pay a monthly condo fee and share common spaces with other owners. Many people associate the word “condo” only with apartments, but that’s not true. This term also includes villas, townhouses, duplexes, and even some detached homes – bareland condos. You can read about different types of condos here.  Note: there are some townhouses and duplexes with NO condo fees but not that many of them. ⁣These types of properties are not condominiums and are called freehold properties.

Examples of Duplexes in Calgary by Calgary Lifestyle Guide

1. Duplex

A building comprised of two distinct units is known as a duplex. The duplex can have a condominium form of ownership (share common property + pay a monthly condo fee) or freehold (no condo fee). The two units may either be placed adjacent to one another or one unit may be situated above the second unit. Typically,  each unit within a duplex has a separate entrance. In a few buildings, each of the units may be provided with a dedicated garage and outdoor area as well. Similarly, buildings comprised of three distinct units and four separate units are known as triplexes and fourplexes, respectively.

Examples of Townhouses in Calgary by Calgary Lifestyle Guide

2. Townhouse

A townhome is a unique concept, wherein the advantages of a single-family home are leveraged with a twist. Every homeowner and their neighbour share a common wall. Typically, a townhouse is built to hold several floors and instead of being horizontally expansive, a townhouse uses space vertically. There is no singular rule pertaining to garages: some have one, others don’t. Although the house may come with an open space, either at the front or as a backyard, the homeowners association might be in charge of maintaining them. A townhouse may offer other advantages to its residents as well, such as pools, parks, or playgrounds. But remember that there is a maintenance fee that can be included in your condo fees.

3. Rowhouse

Rowhouse in Calgary

Example of a Rowhouse in Calgary

Row houses are also referred to as townhomes or townhouses. As the name suggests, they incorporate multiple single-family homes, placed adjacent to each other, with each sharing a common wall with another. One downside is that, when compared to a conventional single-family home, they tend to compromise on privacy to some extent, although each home has a separate door.

Although a townhouse and a rowhouse may sound similar and the terms may be used interchangeably, the two types of housing are actually quite different. When compared to other types of housing, rowhouses are designed to align more effectively with the infrastructure of the city. The houses are quite compact using space more effectively. Moreover, due to their size, they can be constructed in areas close to offices and stores. Although convenient for residents, they may not include garages, common spaces, and elevators, which are perks offered by most apartment buildings.

Rowhouse in Calgary

Example of a Rowhouse in Calgary

Another subtle difference between townhouses and rowhouses is that, while the former is typically established with varying layouts and groups the houses together to form development, the latter comes with a common façade- all the houses are positioned in a line on a street and each one is owned individually. In the case of a townhouse, a homeowner’s association is quite common.

In technical terms, a rowhouse includes a group of low-rise buildings established for residential purposes, where the walls, as well as roofs, are commonly shared with the houses adjacent to them.

4. Villa

A villa is usually an attached duplex (bungalow style) or a detached bungalow (but as a bareland condo).

Example of a Villa in Calgary

Example of an Attached Villa in Calgary

For a Calgary home buyer seeking the comfort and the privacy of a single-family home, but devoid of all the responsibilities, a villa is an ideal option. This type of option is very popular with people who want to downsize and seniors. When you own a villa, you can enjoy independence without being burdened with maintaining the outdoors, which is a responsibility that is typically covered by the condo fee/maintenance fee. If you choose a villa in Calgary, you can bid adieu to painstaking tasks like shovelling, mowing lawns, raking leaves, painting fences, and other maintenance work, which is quite time-consuming. However, remember that you have to pay for those services.

5. Apartment

An apartment, commonly referred to as a flat in Europe, is an independent unit contained within a building, which typically occupies one floor. As an apartment owner, you are subjected to a condo fee, and the common areas are shared with owners of other apartments in the building. An apartment may either be in a high-rise or a low-rise apartment building.

Examples of Low-Rise Condos in Calgary by Calgary Lifestyle Guide

High-Rise or Low Rise Apartment

High-rise apartments are apartments that are 5+ stories high. They almost always have elevators, amenities, security, and an on-site property management office. Mark on 10th is a good example of a high-rise apartment building.

Low-rise apartments are less than 5 stories high (2-4 stories), and are located in residential areas with typically less foot and vehicle traffic. Low-rise apartments sometimes offer more privacy and negotiability of rent and utilities than high-rise apartments.

Examples of High-Rise Condos in Calgary by Calgary Lifestyle Guide

Single Level or Multi-Level Apartment

If you are looking for an apartment, you can choose from a single-level apartment or multi-level apartment or a loft (yes, they exist!). You pay your condo fees, own everything inside your unit, and share the common property with other people in your building. ⁣ ⁣

Examples of Single-Level and Multi-Level Condos in Calgary by Calgary Lifestyle Guide

6. Bareland Condo

A bareland (or bare land) condo is a type of condominium where the owners own their individual plot of land. It is the opposite of the conventional condominium where the owners share the common property, collectively own the land, and individually own their own unit.

NEED REAL ESTATE ADVICE?

If you want to get more information quickly and save yourself some time and effort, just send me a message or give me a call/send me a text message, and I’d be happy to help you figure out the best type of property in Calgary for you and your family. If you are curious about what’s on the Calgary real estate market right now and want to know about interesting and fun Calgary events, sign up for my “Calgary Weekly Events in Your Inbox” here: http://bit.ly/yyceventslist


What about you? What is your favourite type of property and why?

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