The allure of stacked townhouses

The look of a townhouse, but easier on the budget; a condo concept with greater privacy. This is the attractive alternative provided by stacked townhouses, a housing style that is gaining converts in Montreal, after winning over Torontonians.
Maisonnettes superposées dans le projet Bois des caryers

A hybrid solution

A stacked townhouse is like a hybrid of a condo and a single-family dwelling, with a two-storey design. But unlike stand-alone homes, stacked townhouses are jointly owned. As their name implies, they are stacked one on top of the other. One unit occupies the basement and first floor, while the other occupies the two top floors.

Each one has its own front door and outdoor space with private parking beneath the building. “Stacked townhouses provide greater privacy than a condo unit in a large building,” states Marie-Ève Milot, Architect with Yelle Maillé et associés. The firm designed the Square du Nordet stacked townhouses in Saint-Laurent borough.

Attracting young families

Stacked townhouses have a lot going for them, and are particularly well suited to young families, the very people they’re designed to accommodate.

“They have three or four rooms, which is fairly rare in Montreal condos,” explains Maxime Laporte, Director of Development with Constructions Quorum. The developer integrated three phases of stacked townhouses into its housing project in Highlands neighborhood.

“They’re more affordable than townhouses and they give owners the agreeable sense of having a house in the city,” stresses Marie-Ève Milot.

According to Maxime Laporte, the two-storey design is perfect for families: “The living area is on a different floor than the bedrooms, so you can watch tv or cook without disturbing anyone in the bedrooms.”

The through-unit design means the houses are naturally ventilated in summer and provide plenty of natural light year-round.

When the kids want to play outside, there’s no need to take an elevator and go to the park. They can play right in their own yards. In some projects, owners share the courtyard. In others, it is reserved exclusively for residents of the lower unit.

Not having an elevator also reduces construction costs.

Bringing families together

Units may be purchased separately, but like duplexes, the layout of stacked townhouses makes them ideally suited to multigenerational occupancy. The grandparents live in the downstairs unit and the couple with children live in the upper units, for example. “One of our design objectives was bringing families together,” says Marie-Ève Milot.

Maxime Laporte adds that a brother and sister purchased one of the stacked townhouse pairs in the Highlands LaSalle project.

Purchasing the entire duplex also leaves the owner the option of renting one of the units and living in the other.

Where are they?

Some stacked townhouses are going up in central Montreal neighbourhoods. But most new constructions of this kind are being built along the commuter train route.

“Stacked townhouses are in line with the City of Montreal’s desire to increase population density along major commuter routes,” explains the director of development with Quorum Construction.

With their enviable positioning, where the needs of young buyers, real estate developers and municipalities converge, stacked townhouses appear poised to assume a higher profile in the Montreal landscape.

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