Terraced Houses: History, Features, Pros and Cons

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Terraced houses are a British staple, but you may not know what a terraced house is and the features that distinguish it from other types of dwellings. Our guide addresses what a terraced house is, its defining features, and the pros and cons of living in such a house.

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What Is a Terraced House?

A terraced house is a single building in a consistent row of other houses, connected by walls on both sides. These houses typically have identical facades and a similar layout. In most cases, they are distinguished only by their front doors. Terraced housing saves a lot of space, which is why they’re prevalent in urban areas where housing space is scarce and needs to be utilised to the maximum.

The Main Features of a Terraced House

The terraced house meaning includes the following defining features of this type of property.

  • Shared wall (party wall) on either side of the property
  • Individual entrance
  • Shared driveway
  • One to four storeys
  • Identical facade
  • Similar or identical layout
  • A private rear garden or patio

These are the main features of typical terraced houses, but there are variations between a mid-terraced house and an end-terraced house.

What Is a Mid Terraced House?

A mid-terraced house typically comes to mind when considering what terraced housing includes. This type of property is attached to houses on both sides, meaning that you have neighbours living on either side. This also means that you have less privacy and could face more noise than in most other types of houses around the UK. Consequently, these houses are cheaper than other house types—even than end-of-terrace houses.

What Is an End Terraced House?

An end-terraced house is located at the end of a consistent row of houses, typically at the end of a street and with only one shared wall and one adjacent neighbour. Consequently, you have more privacy and outdoor space. So naturally, end-terraced houses are more popular on the real estate market and, therefore, more expensive but cheaper than a semi-detached house (semi-terraced house).

DID YOU KNOW? The average price of a terraced house in the UK in 2022 stands at £213,798—a 14.9% increase from March 2020.

The History of Terraced Houses

Some may ask: What does a terraced house mean? Consider the origin and historical development of terraced housing. In the UK, the first terraced houses were modelled after the Italian concept of adjacent houses in the 1600s. But after the Great Fire of London in 1666, the need for new housing became urgent, and architects saw a solution in terraced housing, known as a ‘garden terrace’ to describe this type of building. Soon afterwards, terraces became a hallmark of the Georgian era.

The terraced house in the UK experienced another building surge after World War II when millions of homes were either destroyed, damaged, or made uninhabitable. Subsequently, architects saw the building of terraces as a quick and easy solution to the impending housing problem.

Terraced Houses in History

The terraced houses from different periods of history have distinct differences. The first terraced houses in the UK were built in the 17th century, but the construction of such houses continued in the centuries to come. So what is the terraced house definition for each specific period?

Georgian Terraced Houses

The first terraced houses in the UK were built during the Georgian period when terraced housing was expensive and seen as a luxury for the upper classes. The houses from this period were typically three or four storeys with large sash windows facing toward city squares or parks. Today, Georgian terraced houses can be found in London, Bath, and Edinburgh.

Victorian Terraced Houses

During the Victorian era, the rapid growth of the population increased the demand for terraced houses, and many terraced properties were constructed. The definition of a terraced house from the Victorian era depicted these homes having built-in ornate fireplaces, large bay windows, and stained glass windows.

Edwardian Terraced Houses

Property construction underwent significant development during the Edwardian period. Terraced houses from this era were much shorter than their counterparts from the Georgian and Victorian eras. Some of the defining features of the Edwardian terraced house included decorative chimneys, porches, and mock Tudor cladding.

DID YOU KNOW? Terraced houses are so popular in the UK that even the British Prime Minister lives in one at 10 Downing Street, London.

Key Takeaways

Terraced houses are single dwellings in a consistent row of houses.
A terraced house has a shared wall on both sides, a shared driveway, an identical facade, and an individual front door.
The subtypes of terraced houses are known as end-terraced and mid-terraced houses.
Terraced houses in the UK can be differentiated by which period they were built: Georgian, Victorian, or Edwardian

The Pros and Cons of a Terraced House

After noting the different types of terraced houses with their main features, determine if the advantages of such warrant a worthwhile investment. So what’s a terraced house in regards to its pros and cons?

Pros

  • More energy efficient: A terraced home has better insulation because it’s connected to other properties—so it’s more energy-efficient than a semi-detached or detached house.
  • Spacious: Terraced houses—especially period homes—are much more spacious than they seem. The high ceilings and large windows create a feeling of openness and freedom.
  • Cheaper than other housing: What is a terraced house with regards to its cost? These dwellings cost less than other, more spacious properties. (If you’re looking for an affordable property, maisonettes are another excellent choice.)
  • Easier to clean and maintain: Since terraced houses are smaller, they’re easier to clean. The restricted outdoor space also makes them much easier (and cheaper) to maintain.
  • Urban setting: Terraced houses are built in urban areas—so you’ll be close to the city centre, which means less commuting.

Cons

  • Higher noise levels: Neighbours who live next door might mean that you’ll be dealing with higher noise levels.
  • No off-street parking: What is a terraced house in a UK neighbourhood parking situation? Such homes don’t often have proprietary parking. So residents must park on the street, which can cause parking shortages.
  • Tricky renovation: Renovating a terraced house can be problematic because you need to consider its impact on the neighbouring houses.
DID YOU KNOW? Selling a house comes at a cost. If you think you can sell your home without paying a cent, you’re mistaken. In the UK, selling a house will cost you more than £5,000.

Terraced House vs Semi Detached Houses

What’s the difference between terraced and semi-detached houses (semi-terraced houses)? The main difference is that a semi-detached house is connected to only one other property, with a shared wall on one side. And the two connected houses are not part of a long row of houses; they exist independently of all other structures.

What is a semi terraced house in terms of space? A semi-terraced house has more indoor and outdoor space than a terraced house, making it more expensive than a terraced house. So if this is your preferred house type, it might be time to start saving for a house.

DID YOU KNOW? Semi-detached houses are the most popular type of property in the UK, with 31.4% of the housing stock in England and Wales made up of semi-detached properties.

Conclusion

What is a terraced house in England (and the rest of the UK)? When on the hunt for your next home, it’s wise to learn about terraced houses since they’re so popular and find out if they are a right fit for you. Our guide explains every aspect of such homes so that you can be equipped with the essential knowledge of terraced housing and make a well-informed decision.

FAQ

What defines a terraced house?

Terraced houses are built in a consistent row in a single line, with shared walls on both sides of the property.

Why is it called a terraced house?

The term ‘terraced house’ originated from ‘garden terrace’, used by British architects because they thought it sounded more stylish than ‘row houses’.

Is a terraced house a single dwelling?

What is a terraced house? Simply put, this structure is a single dwelling built for one household.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Alex is an IT wizz gone SEO gone fire-juggler. We’re not even joking. When he isn’t researching why one personal loan is better than the other and which piece of hardware you should buy next, he’s rollerblading or selling homes (because he does that, too, the smarty-pants).

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