Melbourne boasts a wide variety of housing types to suit every lifestyle. The following descriptions summarize the variety of housing styles that you will find across Melbourne. The inner city is made up of a mix of historical and contemporary housing stock. Housing can come in a variety of forms, including detached, standalone, or freestanding and attached (including semi-detached).
Exactly as it sounds, a house is a free-standing home that usually includes some additional property in the form of a front or back yard (or both). These are most commonly found in the suburbs (inner, but more so in the outer).
A small house, which may be either free standing or attached to other cottages. Cottages generally have a central hallway or corridor, with bedrooms leading off of it. Cottages commonly have a veranda running along the front of the house facing the street. Also known as a Victorian Cottage, Miner’s Cottage or Worker’s Cottage, most of these date back to Melbourne’s early days, and were built in clusters to accommodate the workers of the city.
Self-contained two or three-story houses that share common walls with neighboring identical houses in a row. Terraces are generally found in the inner suburbs, in various degrees of upkeep. Generally narrow, long, and dark from a lack of interior windows (with the exception of the front and back), terraces are classified as single-fronted or double-fronted (depending on how much width they take up when viewed from the street). Terrace homes can be single, double, or in some rare instances triple storey. As terrace homes are historic and uniquely Melbournian, they are highly sought after, especially those that have been beautifully renovated while maintaining their century-old, classic facade.
Townhouses are similar to terrace homes (in that they share walls with neighboring units) but have been more recently constructed, and often appear in modern styles. Available in a wide variety of layouts, they do not rely on the terrace homes’ long and narrow construction, and are more likely to be multi-storey with innovative interiors that maximize natural light.
Large units that are attached to one another via a shared structural wall. ‘Duplex’ (also known as Semi-detached) is also used to describe a house that is built in two identical halves, with a common wall dividing the halves to form two residences. It should be noted however that ‘duplex’ is not a common term in Melbourne Real Estate listings.
A medium-sized free-standing house on a spacious block of land. You will only find bungalow-style housing in the outer suburbs, where there is adequate land to create these larger blocks.
A unit can be a very small house, apartment, or flat. Generally part of a series of single storey attached terrace homes, or flats in a subdivided historic building.
A small residential dwelling that is usually part of a multi-leveled building, and within a series of an attached small dwellings. Typically flats will have two or three rooms and be older than their ´apartment´ counterparts. Many flats in the CBD and inner suburbs can be found in historic buildings that have been converted from warehouses and industrial spaces into modern subdivided dwellings.
A residential dwelling attached to a series of others within a modern multi-storey residential building within the CBD or inner suburbs. They are typically open-planned. Melbourne’s most concentrated areas for apartments are situated in the CBD, Docklands, Southbank, and the Bayside suburbs.
A very large house (more often than not historic), usually of more than one storey, that is located on a very large block of land or estate. They are typically found in the wealthier inner eastern suburbs, such as East Melbourne, Toorak, South Yarra, and parts of Hawthorn, Camberwell, and Armadale.
Dwelling or Abode
Beware of this description in Real Estate listings unless you like your hot water temperamental and cracks or gaps in the walls! They are usually barely-habitable odd-spots that defy description as an apartment or house. If you have a fondness for the quirky and ´character-filled then they are worth a look, and if nothing else, inspecting one of these will make for an interesting morning.