GTA townhomes give semis, detached homes run for their money

by Neil Sharma on 23 Jul 2021

Townhouses used to be affordable ground-related housing options, but in cities like Toronto where price points are close to seven figures, buyers want more bang for their buck.

“Townhomes used to be what passed for houses or semi-detached living, even community living, but they were cookie cutters at the time, although they were affordable ways of giving people the opportunity to have direct access from the street to a home with a backyard and terrace space,” said Dan Menchions, a partner at II BY IV Design, which designed The Willows Townhomes Collection at Bayview the Village, developed by Canderel Residential.

Townhomes in the GTA are evolving to reflect their price points—while not entirely luxury commodities, they aren’t far off—and that’s reflected in The Willows Townhomes, which is part of a 238-unit condominium development, and which has a rich amenity package that townhome purchasers will have full access to.

“You have direct access from the street front and you also have your backyard in a house-like environment, but while still being part of a community that’s right beside you,” said Menchions. “The Willows has higher-end finishes from the flooring to the countertops; the ceiling heights are 10’ and most kitchens are L-shaped, which allows for a more open floor plan, and the islands are dual-level for larger surface height and that supports work-from-home lifestyles.”

The finishes are standardized with what Menchions calls “condo penthouse-quality,” but unlike typical townhomes, units appear commodious to the eye.

“No two-floor plans are the same in this development, and that helps individualize the footprint of each of these homes—and these don’t feel like regular townhomes; they feel like unique, detached homes,” he said. “The units use windows at either end, so there’s sunlight from two directions and airflow throughout the townhomes, meaning there’s a lot of natural light to help emphasize the scale of the space and the height of the ceiling, the width of the units, the materials, and the finishes.”

Townhomes have not just surged in value because semis and detached homes are unattainable for many homebuyers; in fact, they’re ideal for empty nesters wanting less square footage and a measure of autonomy, as well as younger, upwardly mobile move-up buyers. In short, there’s robust demand for townhomes, but they’re scarce in supply.

“Townhomes used to be affordable, entry-point housing for people before they would take the next step, which would be a semi-detached or detached home,” continued Menchions. “Today, people are looking for townhomes as permanent residences. They want a sense of community with a neighbouring high-rise but they still want that individual unit, that luxury lifestyle of living in an independent property where they have direct access from the street.”

In Mississauga’s coveted Port Credit district, Brightwater Towns is a master-planned community featuring luxury townhomes that, according to Christina Giannone, VP of Development of Port Credit West Village Partners, flout the cookie-cutter design principles of townhomes past.

“We have also offered customizable floor plans for the units to allow purchasers to create the home that most suits their own needs,” she said. “Each townhome offers large floor plans with two outdoor terraces, with most incorporating a flex space which can be converted to a bedroom, a work from home space or a fitness gym, and stunning oversized windows, which provide ample natural light. The response to these townhomes has been tremendous—so much so that we have already started to design our next phase. The demand for thoughtful, elevated and well-designed townhomes is there, and will only grow going forward.”

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