Buying

What is a Terraced House?

Posted April 12, 2024
What is a Terraced House?

In this guide, we will cover what is a terraced house, the types available to buy and the typical features you will find on the property market.

If you’re a first-time buyer, buying a terraced house is one of several options you can consider. In this guide, we’ll give you all the information to help decide if a terraced house suits your needs.

What is the meaning of a terraced house?

Terraced houses are built in rows, sharing side walls with neighbours to form a continuous street front. This design first appeared in the 16th century and grew during the Industrial Revolution to meet increased housing needs.

Older terraced houses often feature Victorian or Georgian styles, including two or more stories, pitched roofs, and sometimes detailed decorations.

Typically, these homes have living areas on the ground floor and bedrooms upstairs, with a small front yard or steps at the entrance and a private garden at the back.

Terraced housing has grown to accommodate urban population growth during industrialisation, particularly among workers and the growing middle class.

Today, many terraced houses combine modern interiors with historic exteriors to reflect both tradition and modernity in cities and towns across the UK.

The variety of terraced homes includes ‘back-to-back’ houses, ‘end of terrace’, as well as conversions into flats or bedsits – all showing how adaptable this type of housing is for today’s urban residents.

Types of terraced houses

A Mews Terrace Row of Houses An example of Mews terrace houses

Traditional Terraced Houses showcase classic architecture from the Victorian and Georgian periods, featuring detailed brickwork, ornate fireplaces, bay windows, and high ceilings.

End of Terrace houses are slightly more private with potentially larger outdoor spaces. They are unique because they only share one wall with neighbours, allowing for extra windows and side access.

Modern Terraced Houses focus on contemporary design and sustainable living. They use materials like glass and steel and incorporate energy efficiency, flexible spaces, and smart technologies.

Back-to-Back Terraced Houses were typical working-class homes during the industrial revolution. They offer a compact layout with limited outdoor space. You can find these types of houses in cities such as Leeds.

Mews Houses were originally service buildings for larger estates but have now become sought-after residences that combine historical charm with modern luxury in quaint cobblestoned settings.

What eras were terraced houses built?

Georgian Crescent Terrace Houses An example of Georgian crescent terrace houses

Each type of terraced house mirrors the architectural trends and societal shifts of its era, providing insights into history or reflecting contemporary visions.

Victorian Terraces (1837-1901)

Builders constructed these grand and detailed houses during a prosperous era. They feature high ceilings, elaborate brickwork, gothic elements, bay windows, and colourful tiles.

Edwardian Terraces (1901-1910)

Following the Victorian period, these homes are simpler yet spacious. They have large windows and less ornate decor with Arts and Crafts influences.

Georgian Terraces (1714-1830)

Known for their elegance, these symmetrical homes include sash windows and panelled doors. Their well-proportioned designs exude classic charm.

Modern Day New Builds

Contemporary new build terraced houses focus on modern living needs. They offer energy efficiency, open-plan layouts, and use modern materials while sometimes incorporating historical styles.

Features of a terraced house

Terraced houses display a wide range of features that reflect their historical era, location, architectural style, and renovations. These characteristics highlight the unique appeal of these popular residential properties.

Garage

Older terraced houses usually lack garages because of urban planning at the time of construction. However, newer or renovated homes might include garages, offering valuable off-street parking and storage space—a premium feature in dense urban areas.

Alleyway

Traditional terraces often have alleyways serving as practical passageways to the back of the property. These narrow lanes are crucial for utility access and waste management in older designs but are less common in recent developments that focus on better space use and privacy.

Parking

Parking availability varies widely among terraced houses. In city centres, residents may only have on-street parking options requiring permits. In contrast, suburban or newly developed terraces might provide private driveways or designated parking spaces to meet modern convenience needs.

Sound Proofing

The level of soundproofing depends on the age of the house, construction materials used, and any recent renovations. New builds or updated properties typically offer improved sound insulation to minimise noise transmission and enhance privacy.

Gardens

Garden sizes differ with historic terraces tending towards smaller functional outdoor spaces, while newer constructions may feature larger gardens or communal green areas—providing essential outdoor leisure space.

Build Quality

Build quality ranges from robustly built Victorian and Edwardian homes with ornate details to modern terraces designed for energy efficiency using contemporary standards. This variation reflects changes in building techniques and materials over time, alongside growing homeowner expectations.

What are the alternatives to a terraced house?

You could buy an apartment if you’re interested in more affordable and low-maintenance living, especially in dense urban areas. You could even consider a duplex apartment if you want that extra space.

Semi-detached houses offer more space and a garden, typically appealing to families. 

Detached houses are suitable if you want privacy and don’t mind a higher price.

Shared Ownership is a pathway if you can’t afford the total purchase price upfront, allowing you to buy part of a property and rent the rest.

Buying at auction might secure you a deal, but it’s riskier.

New build homes offer the latest in home design, often with incentives.

These options cater to different needs, making sure that you can find something that suits your personal circumstance.