Where are the best freehold townhouses in Kitchener Waterloo?

freehold

columbia forestThere are several areas offering freehold townhouses around Kitchener Waterloo. As most of them are new, they tend to be on the edges of the cities. There are some very good ones and some I would not recommend. I hope this post will help decide which freehold townhouse and which neighbourhood is best for you.

From an investment point of view, freehold is a better choice than condo. Single detached family homes tend to appreciate at a better rate than units under condominium ownership. In terms of appreciation, freehold townhouses may not do quite as well as single detached homes but better than townhouse condos.

 

There are several good reasons to buy a freehold townhouse. Here are two:

No one likes condo fees

Even though if you own a house sooner or later you will have to replace the roof, resurface the driveway and maybe replace the windows. You have to have insurance, do lawn maintenance and clear the snow in the winter. All of those things are normally included in condo fees.

Most townhouses are part of a condominium complex. Except for new condos, where fees can be as little as $75/month, typical fees are anywhere from $250 to $450 per month.

Cheaper than single detached

As you will see below the price tag on a freehold townhouse is considerable lower than single detached homes. They tend to range $250,000 to $300,000 whereas three bedroom single detached homes start at about $300,000.

 

Methodology

Below I have identified the areas around Kitchener Waterloo that offer freehold townhouses. I have done this by sorting the MLS data from the past 12 months of townhouses sold and for sale. The criteria for the search is:

Freehold

Townhouse

3 bedroom

2 bathroom

1 car garage

Existing (not pre-construction)

The search produced 124 units in 13 neighbourhoods. The data below is fairly broad in nature and does not include all of the townhouses sold and for sale.

I have rated the condos and the neighbourhoods by looking at the following:

Price range

Square footage

Walk score

Transit score

Inside/outside the Conestoga Parkway (this is my own bias)

School

The Marshall test. Would I like to live there? Would I like it if my mother lived there? I consider crime, demographics, neighbourhood feel, transportation, curb appeal, amenities, age of buildings…

Outlook

 

Cononial AcresColonial Acres/Eastbridge

Townhouses found on: Annapolis, Mayflower, New Bedford, Mariner

Price range: $265,000-$310,000

Square footage: 1300-1800

Walk score: 33

Transit score: 40

In/out: Out, but in this case I will make an exception

School: Excellent

Marshall test: Excellent. The freehold townhouses and the neighbourhood are very desirable. The proximity to Rim Park, the Conestoga Mall and St Jacobs are all great. The neighbourhood is also close to the Conestoga Parkway.

Outlook: Excellent

Score: 73

 

LexingtonLexington/Lincoln Village

Townhouses found on: Sable, Pastern, Bairstow

Price range: $270,000-$300,000

Square footage: 1000-1250

Walk score: 57

Transit score: 40

School: Very good

Marshall test: Good: Close to grocery shopping and the Conestoga Parkway. Bechtel Park has a dog park and walking/jogging trails.

Outlook: Good.

Score: 52

 

Grand River NorthGrand River North

Townhouses found on: Brandy

Price range: $265,000-$280,000

Square footage: 1250-1300

Walk score: 27

Transit score: 33

School: Very good

Marshall test: Pass. Close to Victoria Street (perfect if you work in Guelph) Backs onto nature. Surrounding neighbourhood is made up of single family homes. This is good for comparative value

Outlook: Stable

Score: 42

 

IdlewoodIdlewood/Lackner Woods

Townhouses found on: Old Zeller, Upper Mercer and Beaumont

Price range: $275,000-$295,000

Square footage: 1350-1400

Walk score: 13

Transit score: 0

School: Average

Marshall test: Excellent. I like this neighbourhood. The new bridge over the Grand River is a great shortcut into Cambridge, to Guelph and the 401. As far as “new neighbourhoods” go this one is my favourite. You are close to all the shops and restaurants on Fairway Road. The one drawback is that airplanes fly over your house.

Outlook: Excellent

Score: 54

 

DowntownDowntown/Rockway/South Ward

Townhouses found on: Charles Best, Mill

Price range: $220,000-235,000 – The cheapest townhouses on the list

Square footage: 1250-1300

Walk score: 67

Transit score: 53

In/out: In, but in this case I will make another exception as this neighbourhood is so poor

School: Fail

Marshall test: Fail. The neighbourhood and the townhouses are old, ugly and depressing.

Outlook: Poor. Even the LRT live which is fairly close won’t save this part of town.

Score: 35

 

Forest HillForest Hill

Townhouses found on: Ralgreen, Yager

Price range: $220,000-260,000

Square footage: 1200-1350

Walk score: 68

Transit score: 51

School: Average

Marshall test: Fail. There is nothing specifically wrong with these townhouses, but nothing special either.

Outlook: So so

Score: 66

 

Laurentian HillsLaurentian Hills/Country Hills West

Townhouses found on: Foxglove, Active, Snowdrop, Max Becker, Donnenwerth

Price range: $260,000-290,000

Square footage: 1200-1400

Walk score: 40

Transit score: 34

School: Average

Marshall test: Fail. Approximately 1/3 of all the freehold townhouses that came up in my search are located in this neighbourhood. It is a busy and crowded neighbourhood. When municipalities are looking for examples of what not to do, this neighbourhood is a great example.

Outlook: Poor

Score: 42

 

huronHuron Park

Townhouses found on: Madeline, Chantilly, Sorrento, Maitland, Sophia, Parkvale

Price range: $260,000-$290,000

Square footage: 1300-1500

Walk score: 0

Transit score: 0

School: Average

Marshall test: Fail. I don’t like suburbs that offer nothing, are close to nothing and have no personality

Outlook: Poor

Score: 31

 

Pioneer ParkPioneer Park/Doon/Wyldwoods

Townhouses found on: Cranshaw, Tudor, Banffshire

Price range: $270,000-290,000

Square footage: 1250-1650

Walk score: 8

Transit score: 25

School: Very Good

Marshall test: Fail. Nice topography but too remote.

Outlook: Fair

Score: 48

 

Forest heightsForest Heights

Townhouses found on: Glen Avon

Price range: $210,000-260,000

Square footage: 1300-1400

Walk score: 28

Transit score: 47

School: Average

Marshall test: Pass. It is a nice old neighbourhood. Close, but not too close to a lot of things.

Outlook: Good

Score: 54

 

Beechwood forestBeechwood Forest/Highland West

Townhouses found on: Golden Terrace, West Meadow

Price range: $240,000-280,000

Square footage: 1200-1300

Walk score: 52

Transit score: 48

School: Excellent

Marshall test: Pass. I like Beechwood Forest (the forgotten Beechwood). The schools are excellent and you are close to shopping and restaurants and an easy drive to work or downtown Kitchener.

Outlook: Better than average

Score: 65

 

westvaleWestvale

Townhouses found on: Grange, Baker

Price range: $250,000-260,000

Square footage: 1200-1300

Walk score: 83

Transit score: 47

School: Excellent

Marshall test: Pass. This is a very popular neighbourhood. Good schools, Close to the Boardwalk. Good neighbourhood association. Get a dog.

Outlook: Very good

Score: 73

 

 

columbia forestColumbia Forest/Clair Hills

Townhouses found on: Virginia Creeper, Zermatt, Chablis

Price range: $265,000-305,000

Square footage: 1250-1750

Walk score: 49

Transit score: 0

School: Excellent

Marshall test: This is my first choice. I like the topography of the neighbourhood. Great for mountain biking out into the country. The schools are great. The demographics are excellent too. Lots of young tech workers, university types live here.

Outlook:Excellent

Score: 67

 

 

Photo Credit: Google Street View

 

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