Single-family detached home

Single-detached homes have both advantages and disadvantages.

The entire space around the building is private to the owner and family, and in most cases (depending on national/federal, state/provincial, and local laws), one can add onto the existing house if more room is needed. They also typically have no property management fees, such as the ones associated with condominia and townhomes. These are often considered advantages.

Since single detached homes are typically built in places where land is more plentiful, there is a distinct cost advantage per square foot (although this varies based on many factors, such as housing stock and land availability). This is mostly due to the cheaper cost of the plot of land that the house is built on.

To many owners, single detached homes also offer a degree of privacy not seen in denser housing developments. The walls, floors, and ceilings aren't shared with others, so sounds between dwellings aren't as easily transferred. In addition, a level of freedom not seen in denser developments is afforded to owners of houses. Since the house is usually owned and not attached to other dwellings, the owner is free to do nearly anything with the interior, from repainting to remodeling, without disturbing others.

Another advantage is that single family houses typically have private yards, which owners can use and landscape as desired (and within the confines of any homeowners' associations). Families with children also may find this advantageous, since neighboring kids can play privately together (as opposed to in public parks, whose upkeep, or lack of, is determined by a local governing body).

However, all maintenance and repair costs — interior, exterior, and everything in between — are at the owner's expense. Amenities such as pools and playgrounds are usually absent, unless built at private expense, or if a municipal playground is available. Landscaping and lawn upkeep costs are at the owner's expense.

From an environmental point of view, single-family houses are likely to require much more energy to heat in cold weather than buildings with shared walls, because of their very high surface-area-to-volume ratio. In wealthier countries, people who live in single-family houses are much more likely to own and use a private automobile rather than walking, biking, or using public transit to commute. The low density of housing leads to less frequent bus service and longer distances to commute, thus leading to increased car use. This makes single-family houses part of a much more energy and carbon-intensive lifestyle. The low-density nature of this type of housing requires using more land which could otherwise be used for agriculture or as natural habitat.

Inner city neighborhoods of larger cities tend to be densely populated and without significant room for houses devoted to just a single family. By contrast, the outer districts of larger cities are usually transitional areas with equal shares of smaller apartment buildings and single-detached homes.

Culturally, single-family houses are associated with suburbanization in many parts of the world. Owning a home with a yard and a "white picket fence" is seen as a key component of the "American dream" (which also exists with variations in other parts of the world). Single-family homes can also be associated with gated communities, particularly in developing countries (e.g. Alphaville, São Paulo).