Countryside real estate – cottage vs. townhouse

20/ 07

Each buyer of countryside real estate is sooner or later faced with an issue of which format to choose – townhouse or cottage. Both types of homes have their pluses and minuses.

Cottages are most popular in the Moscow suburban real estate segment. They attract a demand of around 75% from the total scope of offers in this niche. Blocked real estate – townhouses and duplexes (which is a rather specific real estate format combining both “city” and “suburban” features) accounts for around 20% of concluded contracts, while the remaining 5% are occupied by land plots without a construction contract.

We can forecast a growing popularity of cottages and townhouses and a new wave of demand in the fall of 2014 as the old offers are leaving the market while the volume of new projects in the market has shrunk considerably.

Let’s start with townhouses

This format has firmly established itself in the countryside real estate market of this country. Traditionally (in Western interpretation) townhouses are regarded as inexpensive dwellings located within the city line (elite and business classes as a rule) or in close proximity to the city.

One of the largest townhouse settlements with respect to the number of designed apartment sections is the Southern Valley project from company RDI. It is located 9 km away from the Moscow Ring Road along the Kashirskoye highway. The project envisions the construction of 145 cottages and 977 apartment sections in townhouses and 2719 apartments in low storey houses. Construction is carried out in several phases. Quite recently apartment sections of 96-177 sq.m. on land plots of up to 2.8 ares could be purchased for 5.8 – 10.4 mil. rub.

One of the main criteria is neighbors

As a matter of fact, a townhouse is the same apartment only in the suburbs. You cannot have the same privacy as with a cottage – you know there is someone else behind the wall anyway. On the other hand, most suburban settlements provide for a social (and as a result financial) homogeneity of residents, and their number is also considerably smaller than in a regular apartment house.

Second important factor is area

If we look at the average space, townhouses today are approximately 200 sq.m. large while cottages offer a space of 400-500 sq.m. Thus the area of a townhouse section is almost two times smaller. One of the advantages of smaller space is essential economy of funds, both in purchasing real estate as well as in subsequent interior finishing.

Land plot – one of the reasons people are anxious to move to the country

Just like the residential space, the land plot for each townhouse apartment is considerably smaller – from 0.5 to 4 ares. Compared to a cottage where the land plot may be anything from several ares to several ha, the land adjacent to the townhouse may seem quite modest. However several ares is quite enough to accommodate the most necessary things – place for barbecue and a couple of reclining chairs. Considering the current high cost of land (especially in the near suburbs and/or along upmarket routes) you can achieve essential economy.

Cost – may be the winning argument for purchase

Now we have come to the main issue which is often issue number one. The price of cottages as well as townhouses may differ considerably depending on the segment. It is important to look not only at the purchase price but the cost of further maintenance as well. Considering the smaller space of townhouse apartments, the savings are considerable.

Average budget for purchasing an economy class townhouse in the Moscow region may vary from 4.5 to 9 mil.rub. Offers in the premium segment of Novorizhskoye, Ilyinskoe and Rublevo-Uspenskoye directions start from 25 mil.rub. The average mean price across the region comprises around 10 mil.rub. per townhouse. While for some highways the average area of land plots for cottages and townhouses is almost the same, others demonstrate a difference of up to 3-5 times. The pace of sales depends on the project segment and concept, for mass market projects it’s around 15-20 transactions per month. Townhouses priced 30 mil. rub and more are sold much slower.


A townhouse will fit a person who has not quite made up his mind to move to the suburbs but wants to give it a try, without spending much money on a cottage.
Cottage as was mentioned before may be used as dacha. This is the way most economy class villas are used.