There are many different types of houses in the UK. It’s fair to say we have a rich and varied housing stock with a real variety of architectural styles, structures and sizes.
As you start preparing to buy a house, you’ll start looking at these different types of houses. For some, a certain architectural style will have an overall appeal, for others, the search for space will look more towards a residential building’s structure, and the space it offers rather than its architectural appeal.
Whatever type of property you’re looking for, do your research before your viewing with our property report. It will give you all you need to know at the time that you most need it.
The different types of houses across the UK
Our rich architectural history means that in the UK we have properties that date back to the 1400s. Below is a list of some of the different house styles throughout our history with a brief overview of their structure, design and where you can find them.
The period from 1485 to 1558.
Largely characterised by steeply pitched roofs, exposed timber frames (i.e. spaced wooden boards with white stucco or stone in between), a number of brick fireplaces, and therefore chimneys and windows with uniquely shaped panes that look Medieval.
The period 1714 to 1790.
Cities like Bath or London are renowned for their Georgian architecture. A Georgian house is typically square, made of brick, has rather grand looking exterior columns, large feature windows and wooden shutters.
Buckingham Palace is the best direct example of Georgian architecture.
The period 1839 to 1901.
Despite the Victorian era being the defining period of British architecture due to the Industrial Revolution, the majority of the working class population lived in small cottages or back-to-back homes, now commonly known as terraced houses.
Victorian housing can be characterised by its modern terraces, with a kitchen to the rear and living spaces at the front. They are also known for their design features like ornate fireplaces, staircases, ceiling roses, panelling and cornicing with classic picture rails and dado rails.
The period 1900 to 1918.
This architecture is more subdued than the Victorian era but still retains some colourful and decorative features. The main characteristic of an Edwardian style house is its tiled roof.
With the arrival of gas, and eventually, electric lighting, houses did not get as dirty. This led people to decorate with lighter, brighter wallpapers and curtains.
Edwardian properties are most common in the suburbs of most cities.
The period from 1919.
This period refers to the post-war period when there was an acute shortage of housing. The Housing and Town Planning Act of 1919 (The Addison Act) was seen as a watershed in the provision of council housing.
The houses were laid out along avenues, crescents and cul-de-sacs with open green spaces at the centre of estates. Initially designed to maximise natural sunlight, but as the economy took a turn for the worse in the early 1920s, houses were reduced in size and designs were further simplified to reduce costs.
1930’s Semi houses
The period 1918 to 1939.
Identified by their boxy shape these semi-detached houses had hipped roofs and curved bay windows built with red brick and some pebbledash. They typically had a room off the front hall with a dining room and kitchen at the rear. Upstairs were usually two bedrooms, a small room and a bathroom with a toilet.
According to the University of Nottingham, there are more than three million 1930s properties in the UK.
1970’s Terrace houses
The period from 1970.
Many 70’s houses were built with an abundance of space. Rooms are typically large enough to accommodate families offering space to grow, play and socialise.
Also, because many 1970s houses were built on bigger plots they typically have larger outdoor spaces than we see in today’s new build homes.
1990’s New Build houses
The period from 1990.
This period saw the reintroduction of traditional features into UK housing stock. 1990’s new builds often reflected older styles with mock timber framing, rendered walls and cottage features. Double glazing and insulation also became standard component parts and safety standards took hold during this period.
The different house sizes
Properties come in all shapes and sizes. There are many types of home in the UK. Some are traditional, other’s aren’t. These include:
- Studio flats
- Terraced houses
- Semi-detached houses
- Detached houses
- Tiny homes
- Modular homes
So, what do each of these different types of homes actually look like?
What is a studio flat?
This is a property on a single level that consists of one main living space. A studio flat is a self-contained living area that brings together a sitting room, kitchen and bedroom into one space. Usually, there’s a separate bath or shower room and WC. These flats can be economical to purchase and run, making them a popular choice with first-time buyers – though this can pose its own potential risks.
What is a flat / apartment?
Flats and apartments are single storey dwellings in a converted property or purpose-built block. A flat usually has shared communal parts for access and sometimes communal gardens for residents use too. The term ‘flat’ doesn’t define the size of the property but, generally, flats or apartments are smaller than houses and cheaper to run overall.
Buying a flat (or apartment) may mean that you have to pay a regular service charge which can be high, so make sure you do your research! You will not own the ground the flat sits on, and therefore you’ll effectively own a long lease.
What is a maisonette?
A maisonette is a flat that covers more than one storey of a building. It could be a portion of a converted period building or even purpose-built.
Maisonettes are popular because they feel more like a house, often without the overall responsibility and associated costs. You may share overall maintenance costs with other residents of the building.
Maisonettes are a great option if you want the sense of ‘going upstairs to bed’. It sounds simple but it’s something a lot of new buyers are keen to achieve.
What is a terraced house?
Terraced properties tend to be small-to-medium sized houses that share side walls with neighbours. These tend to run along a residential street and can offer a very different feel to a flat or maisonette.
You have your own front door, often some outside space at the front or rear and possibly off-street parking.
What is a semi-detached house?
A semi-detached house is one that shares only one wall with another property. They often sit in pairs along a road. They can be period or modern constructions and are usually more expensive than their terraced counterparts. Semi-detached houses are attractive options to buyers because they offer a greater amount of space and privacy.
What is a tiny home?
Also known as a micro house, these are properties that have 37sqm or less. This square footage includes everything: living room, kitchen etc. These homes are often single storey, but don’t have to be. They tend to be much more affordable, while requiring much less maintenance. However, as mentioned, they’re tiny – which isn’t for everyone. They also don’t tend to increase in value like traditional properties.
What is a modular property?
These properties are mass produced, built in a factory rather than on site. They’re then delivered when finished. They have many architectural styles and the homes’ features can be designed to the owner’s specifications. This could be the number of stories tall they are, whether they’re split level or three stories tall etc. They also tend to be more eco-friendly when it comes to the materials used for building and production methods.
What is a detached house?
Detached houses stand in their own plot and are not adjoined to any other dwelling. These tend to be the most valuable of all property types as they can offer a good plot, privacy, off-street parking and are often the most spacious property type available.
So, what other considerations are there to make?
What is the difference between a freehold and leasehold property?
The majority of houses in the UK are owned on a ‘freehold’ basis. This means there is no one else involved in the ownership of the property.
Flats and occasionally houses can be sold on a leasehold basis. This means you own the flat/house for a set period of time, and that the land it’s built upon remains the property of someone else (the freeholder).
What other property features should I consider?
Although there are six main types of property, these can come in many different shapes and sizes:
- Flats can be period conversions or purpose built just as terraced properties can be mid-terrace or end-of-terrace
- Detached houses could be new build or period, a barn conversion, eco home, bungalow, cottage, farmhouse, ranch-style home, or Old Rectory – and that’s just naming a few!
- Do you want a resale (second hand) house or a new build? Read about purchasing a newly refurbished property in more detail here. Don’t forget to put together a snagging list if you’re thinking of going for a new build
What do all types of homes have in common?
Answer: you should always do thorough research before buying somewhere. This includes the area, not just the property itself.
Our property report provides a guide on the average price of a property in a dedicated postcode compared to the national average for different property types. Find out this and more, get your full property report here.
Last Updated: February 2nd, 2022