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The Condo Mania Team

News > Condo Townhome or Loft: Which is Right For You?

Not sure whether you should be looking for a condo, townhome or patio home in Phoenix? Not everyone agrees on the style definitions, and that includes builders, real estate agents and homeowners. We're not talking legal definition here.  Instead, we're talking about a style of residence that demands a question - is this right for my living style?

High Rise Condominiums

If you've lived in places like Manhattan, San Francisco Chicago and Miami Beach, you know and understand the term condominium to be a (usually) small place in a high rise building. But in Phoenix, high-rise condominiums were an anomaly until the early 2000's, when the luxury condominium developments like the Optima Biltmore were added to the downtown and Biltmore area skyline. High rise and mid-rise condominiums vary in price, with the new high-rise condominiums commanding the highest price per square foot – builders claim that the steel and concrete buildings are more expensive to build than a 2 story wood frame building. Is a mid-rise or high-rise community for you? Basement parking and elevators aren't quite as convenient, but the possibility of great views, better amenities and proximity to shopping/dining may be worth it.

Low Rise Condominiums

More common in Phoenix is a condo in a 2-story building with 3 to 5 other condos. Unless you have an end unit, you'll have shared walls on both sides. You'll get your choice between a second floor unit with balcony, and a first floor unit with a patio. Some of the older condominium communities (1970's – 1980's) aren't pretty on the outside. However, the inside may have been remodeled to look brand new, and these types of units present the best value compared to newer condos or most townhomes. The newer condominium communities often have garages included, either in the same building as the unit, or in an adjacent building.

Phoenix Townhomes

We define a townhome as a 2 story residence with shared walls. The advantage of a townhome is that you have no other owners above or below you and often these residences are more spacious than a condo.  In addition, most Phoenix  townhomes have garages and a patio. Fireside at Desert Ridge is a nice example of newer townhomes that have some space Builders are now creating 3-story townhomes where the garage is on the first floor, the living space on the second floor (often with a balcony instead of a patio), and the bedrooms are on the third. This kind of townhome model takes up less space and therefore can be more affordable for the builder and (potentially) the buyer. The drawback? Lots of stairs.

Patio Homes (or Villas, if you want to get fancy)

The great feature of a patio home is, as the name states, its patio. With such great Phoenix weather, people want to feel like they can get outside and enjoy their own space, without the hassle of a big yard. A patio can include some landscaping as well. With a good automatic drip irrigation system, a few plantings can still be classified as low maintenance.

We define patio homes as a townhome style with only one story, which fits well with those that can't climb stairs, or worry that one day they won't be able to climb stairs. Patio homes also may be stand-alone homes, or have one or two shared walls with a neighbor. Most patio homes have garages, but some of the older patio homes have a carport, or a detached patio. In almost all cases, the patio home owner doesn't have responsibility for front yard maintenance, as that land is owned and operated by the community's homeowner association. For a classic patio home style, check out some units at Villa Sierra Madre.

Unfortunately, the classic patio home is no longer being built in the one-story model except with the over $500,000 price tag (hence, the "villa"). Instead, the new patio homes are a combination town-home and patio home, with 2 stories but still a generous-sized patio. Fireside at Norterra has a good selection of this style.


Phoenix is seriously behind other large cities in the loft style, probably because there are fewer old buildings to convert to lofts as in cities like Denver.  But lofts (especially at lower prices) are in demand by buyers that want an alternative to condos.  "True Lofts" take some lifestyle modifications because they often have one big open space, less storage and some big walls (so what DO you put on that big wall, anyway?), but newer "soft loft" styles have some of those options put back in.

If you like the loft style, check out the Artisan Lofts on Central.

Still not sure which is for you?  Try looking at our Categories Page, which breaks out communities by architectural types.


Though not guaranteed, information and statistics in this article have been acquired from sources believed to be reliable.

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Logo for Fair Housing ActThe Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on color, race, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability.

Information Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed. The information being provided is for consumer's personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. This information, including square footage, while not guaranteed, has been acquired from sources believed to be reliable.

Last Updated: 2024-06-22 00:49:05