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The Different Types of Houses – Which One’s For You?

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

You‘ve probably spent years thinking about your first or even next home – it’s one of the UK’s favourite pastimes! Did you know there are over 28 million properties in the UK? Your next home is out there waiting for you.

When preparing to buy a house, you may have considered what you need from your next home, but have you thought about the type of property itself? Here we’ll explain the different types of houses on the UK market so you can decide which one’s for you.

The different types of houses on the UK market

There are 6 main types of property currently sold on the UK market. These include:

  • Studio flats
  • Flats
  • Maisonettes
  • Terraced houses
  • Semi-detached houses
  • Detached houses

So, what do each of these actually mean?

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 a 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 a lot 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 which 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 which 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 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 but 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 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 new build property in more detail here. Don't forget to put together a snagging list if you're thinking of going for a new build.

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 report here.

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