Multi-Family house: design ideas, inspiration and pictures │homify Multi-Family house: design ideas, inspiration and pictures

Multi-Family house: design ideas, inspiration and pictures

A Closer Look at Multi-Family Homes

From small units such as duplexes to large buildings with hundreds of apartments, multi-family homes come in different shapes and forms. Also known as multi-dwelling units or MDUs, these houses are buildings or structures designed to house several different families in separate housing units. Examples include apartment buildings, duplexes, semi-detached houses, condominiums (condos) and townhouses.

Variety is the spice of city life

Although not inexpensive, Hong Kong inhabitants are spoilt for choice when it comes to the range of multi-family homes on offer. The assortment ranges from duplexes to apartments (old and new), studio flats to townhouses, and even serviced apartments (that could include welcome extras such as breakfast, a maid service and even a fitness club).

A closer look at different types of homes

Apartment buildings have multiple apartments (or flats) within the same building. The entire building could be owned by one person (an investor) who rents out single apartments to families or individuals. Alternatively, individual owners could own single apartments within the building. The latter is true of condos. 

A duplex is a two-storey unit with separate entrances to each floor. It usually belongs to one person that occupies the duplex. Sometimes, one of the floors is rented out as a means of generating income. Much in the same vein, a triplex has three storeys. 

Basements are either completely or partially below the ground floor of a house, and while they are generally used as utility rooms it can be converted into comfortable living spaces. Similarly, lofts are large opens spaces adapted from buildings such as warehouses into homes. 

Often mistakenly referred to as duplexes too, semi-detached houses consist of one building with two houses that share a wall. Each house usually has a different owner. Townhouses are attached to a number of other townhouses. 

Buildings for work and stay

While the above-mentioned styles are clearly residential, mixed-use buildings combine residential and commercial spaces in one building. Just imagine coming home from work and picking up dinner from the store on the ground floor of your apartment block. Or, inviting your friends to the opening of a new art gallery on the top floor!

Investing right

If investors do their homework and invest in the right properties, they will enjoy the many benefits on offer. Buying multiple units in one apartment building means that it’s easier to manage your investment. Also, landlords can add additional facilities such as laundry rooms, gyms and vending machines to generate income over and above rent.

It’s important to consider whether or not you have the time to manage such a venture, as issues with tenants can be very time-consuming. You want to sort these out ASAP, especially if you’ve managed to secure good tenants you wish to keep around. Remember to be flexible, as you may have to adjust rent from time to time depending on market shifts.       

A pretty penny

It’s no secret that the property prices of Hong Kong apartments are high, but how steep is it really? Well, according to the property firm Midland Realty, apartments in Hong Kong cost an average of HKD130 000 per square metre.

In 2011, Broad Sustainable Buildings, a construction company in China’s Hunan Province, built a 30-story building in just 15 days. The same company constructed a hotel called the T30 at a price of just HKD7 800 per square metre.

Renovation timelines

Renovation time is highly dependent on the extent of the renovation. Working within a tight time-frame, a very creative interior designer turned two apartments in Hong Kong East into a modern four-bedroom home in just six months, showing that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of living in a multi-family home?

As with any investments, there are both advantages and disadvantages you should consider before moving into a multi-family home.


·         They’re more affordable than single-family homes

·         They are more safer, often with access control

·         They often come with added amenities such as a pool or gym

·         Parking is designated and secure


·         You have less privacy than in a single-family home

·         You don’t have complete control over the noise factor

·         Facilities like washing lines and rubbish bins are communal

·         Extra levies could be payable  

Get professional help

Whether you decide on a duplex, semi-detached house or an apartment block, the importance of finding the right people to create or update your building can not be overemphasised. Visit homify’s Professionals section to ensure you curate a home builder that’s worth the money and that won’t drag out the process. Should you be considering a design change to the inside of your apartment or townhouse, a qualified interior architect will help to identify your needs and create designs for doors, windows, walls and more. If you’re looking to refurbish, simply click on Interior Designers & Decorators for a range of professional creatives that will work tirelessly to bring your ideas to life. Remember, this is an on-going process as you want to keep a close eye on things, ensuring that the contractors work together in harmony. If they don’t get along, you’ll be the one to lose out.