Many older dwellings in Sydney have kept to European building design models. You can see this in some of the older sandstone cottages in Balmain and in the terraces (row houses) that dominate Paddington, both inner suburbs of Sydney that were established early on. This is changing, however. Recently built homes are being designed with the warm to temperate Sydney climate in mind. Contemporary structures in Sydney tend to have large windows allowing for more light and breezeways, and outdoor living areas are treated as an extension of the living space rather than something to be looked at from the confines of the home. Nevertheless, older homes in Sydney are highly regarded and valued.
Sydney boasts a wide variety of housing types to suit all manner of lifestyles. Sydney’s inner city is made up of a mix of historical and contemporary housing stock. Housing can come in a variety of forms, including detached, semi-detached, stand-alone or free-standing, and attached. The following house types summarise the variety of housing styles which you will find across Sydney.
Freestanding house. It shares no walls with other abodes.
A single house that has been divided into two houses. The two houses share a common wall, the wall that divides them. It is also sometimes called a duplex. Noise can sometimes be heard through the common wall.
A small, single storey house. Older cottages are made from sandstone. These can be cold as they tend to be older and not as well insulated as their more modern counterparts.
Self-contained two- or three-storey row houses. Terraces share common ‘party’ walls (boundary walls) with neighbouring identical houses in a row. Terraces are generally found in the inner city areas.
A townhouse is a modern version of a terrace. Generally, these types of accommodation are long and thin and two stories which can have very narrow stairways.
A large single-level unit that is attached to one other. “Duplex” is also used to describe a house that is built in two identical halves, with a structural wall dividing the two, to form two residences. (also known as semi-detached)
A medium-sized free-standing house on a generously-sized block of land – typically in the suburbs. You will only find bungalow-style housing beyond 7km of the CBD.
Sometimes interchanged with the word flat, units are small attached residential dwellings that are part of a multi-levelled building. They typically have two or three rooms and are similar to a very small house.
A residential dwelling attached to a series of others within a modern, multi-storey residential building within the CBD or inner city. They are typically open-planned. Sydney’s most concentrated areas for apartments are situated in the CBD, Pyrmont, Kings Cross, Lower North Shore, Neutral Bay, and Chatswood.
A very large house, usually of more than one storey, on a very large block of land or estate. Typically located in the wealthier suburbs of Sydney, such as East Sydney, Vaucluse, Double Bay, Mosman, Neutral Bay, Kirribilli, and St Ives.