What Are Duplex Units? How Are They Different From Apartments?

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Duplex Unit

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What Are Duplex Units?

Duplex houses are huge units that allow you to live on two distinct floors. There are two types of duplex units, which can be either landed or high-rise. A duplex unit offers a house-like floor design at a lower cost than a single-family home. It’s also a step above a regular residence, with some offering extras like semi-private patio space.

A duplex is an ideal blend between an apartment and a double-storey house for certain families or groups of roommates. Read on to know all about this unique home concept.

What Is The Meaning Of ‘Duplex’?

The two residences in most duplexes are built side by side, but you may also live in a duplex units with flats on two storeys. The Latin duplex means “twofold,” derived from the words duo (two) and plex (to entangle). Around 1922, the term was coined in the United States.

What is a Duplex House In Malaysia?

A duplex house in Malaysia is a two-story apartment building in a high-rise residential construction, such as a condominium. It is also referred to as a loft since it generally has an open room on the upper floor that is connected to the lower floor via stairs within the apartment itself.

A duplex unit normally comprises a single kitchen area, a living hall, and two or three bedrooms, depending on its built-up size. The top-level often has a smaller floor space and is utilized as an open bedroom or a small office area.

What Is the Distinction Between a Duplex and an Apartment?

A duplex unit is made up of two independent units that are placed within the same structure, while an apartment is a unit that is positioned individually among other units in a residential complex. Since a duplex is considered a combination of two units, it is likely that you will only share a wall with one other unit, however in an apartment, you would most likely have neighbours on both sides of your unit.

Duplexes have more square feet on average than apartments and may cost more depending on location. Previously duplexes are not as common as flats, apartments and condos with the majority of them located further than cities. But, it is becoming more and more common to spot duplexes in the cities of today. Duplexes and apartments may have different facilities, with the former more likely to include house-like utilities such as a washer/dryer hook-up than the latter.

Although apartments and duplexes have certain similarities, such as having shared facilities, they also have some significant distinctions.

What is the Price of a Duplex House?

Duplex Unit

Like with any sort of property, there are various reasons that might cause values to rise. A spectacular view, for example, might demand a higher price. Penthouse apartments are frequently designed as duplexes, as they attract the highest per-unit costs in a condo building.

Even so, when the existence of vacant spaces and/or extensive roof terraces is considered, the per square foot costs of penthouse flats are frequently not that high in comparison to other units in the same complex. Because such rooms are not considered dwelling spaces, developers may reduce the asking price per square foot.

Duplex units provide a significantly different living experience than single-story homes. Due to relatively high prices and a lack of inventory, detached single-family houses may simply not be an option for most individuals (renters or purchasers) in high-density metropolis regions like Klang Valley, Penang, and Seremban. 

Before making any decision, you might want to take note of the key advantages and disadvantages of living in a Duplex unit. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Duplex Unit

Advantages of a Duplex Unit

Privacy is Guaranteed

Because you only have to share a wall with one other person/family, a duplex unit provides greater privacy. Even though you will be sharing a yard, there are methods to divide off your area for greater privacy if the duplex is side by side. When you spend time outside, you won’t feel like you’re invading your neighbour’s space.

More Ability to Modify your Unit

Living in a duplex unit gives you more opportunity to personalize your area and make it feel like home. This is due to the fact that duplexes are often rented out by a private landlord rather than a property management firm, making it simpler for tenants to request permission to make modest changes to the unit, such as painting or upgrading the interior decor. 

More Spacious

Double-story plans are roomier and provide the sense of a landed home or bungalow, which is appealing in Malaysia’s land-scarce environment. Depending on the arrangement of the unit, this wealth of space can be utilized in a variety of ways. Some of the larger duplexes have expansive leisure facilities, such as rooftop pools or entertainment decks.

Conversion to a Dual-Key Condominium Unit

Certain types of duplex flats can be transformed into dual-key units that can house two households with separate entrances. This allows the owner to rent out one of the homes while living in the other, or to accommodate a multigenerational family in the unit without compromising privacy.

Non-duplex dual-key homes often have one bigger and one smaller dwelling, with the smaller one intended for rental. Duplex apartments with certain layouts, on the other hand, might provide better equality between the two units.

Disadvantages Of Duplex Unit

Apartments are more Common than Duplexes

It is difficult to find duplexes. They are less common than flats since they are often larger in size. If you wish to live in or near a city, you’ll have a greater chance of locating an apartment rather than a duplex unit. 

You Would Have to Live Close to your Landlord.

Some landlords choose to live in one of their units to save money and pay off their mortgages faster. Living so close to your landlord might lead to problems, especially for privacy-conscious people.

Rental Profit is not Guaranteed

Just because you purchase a duplex unit does not guarantee that you will find renters. Finding the proper renters takes time, and you must restart the process every time one of your tenants moves out. When the flat next door is empty, you lose money for each month that the unit is not rented.

Why a Duplex Instead of an Apartment?

Duplex UnitNo one will say no to

greater room and freedom in addition to a distinct living experience.

Because it is a two-story construction, it has a more expansive plan that can be used in a variety of ways, such as converting the upper level into a tiny office, a game room or a master bedroom.

What Exactly is the Difference Between a Duplex and an Apartment?

To make your life easier while comparing all the aspects, here are ten major differences between duplexes and apartments: 

10 Differences Between Duplex and Apartments


A duplex unit is usually owned by an individual, who may or may not reside in one of the units. The owner can rent out one or both units. Apartment complexes are often owned by a business, investors, or a group. (This is not always the case, although it is common in large cities.)

Number of units:

A duplex is a unit in which there are two separate living spaces, whereas an apartment is a unit in a multi-unit residential building or complex. 


Duplexes are often larger than other high-rise units. The ceiling height is also considerably higher than in condominium units. The upper floor of the duplex unit is usually smaller in floor size compared to the lower floor.

Design and Structure

A duplex consists of two flats split across two stories, each interconnected by a private interior stairway or an elevator. The bedrooms and other private areas of the duplex are on the top floor, while the living room and kitchen are on the lower floor.

Apartments, on the other hand, come in a variety of styles, with some offering entirely open layouts and others separated into many rooms. Other flats have a mix of the two, with some rooms open and others partitioned into rooms.


Location is important in deciding the rental costs in both apartments and duplexes, as it is in other living spaces. Duplexes may be more expensive to rent than other apartment types due to their larger square footage. 

Location of Houses

Duplexes tend to be more commonly found in areas with a dense population, while apartments can be found almost anywhere.

Kemudahan & Kemudahan

Duplexes provide more house-like facilities such as in-unit laundry, patios, porches, and basements, whereas apartments provide amenities more commonly seen in typical high-rises.

Common Areas and Spaces

Common areas in a duplex are shared by multiple inhabitants depending on the property, but those in apartment complexes are typically shared by more occupants due to the high-density population.

Landlords vs. property management firms

The majority of duplexes are rented out by a private owner, who may or may not live on the property. In contrast, a flat in an apartment complex is more likely to be rented out by a property management firm that controls all aspects of the units.

Your finances as well as your demands will determine whether your ideal place to live is a duplex or an apartment. Both types are viable living places with benefits and drawbacks, and it is up to you to determine what you are ready to compromise. It is always crucial to conduct as much research as possible in order to have all of the data at your disposal and make an informed conclusion.

Final Thoughts

Those who are looking for a home can choose from a variety of property kinds. It is critical to evaluate which type best meets your specific requirements. Will a single-family home give you the room you want and desire? Is a typical apartment complex good for you? Perhaps a duplex can satisfy your need to feel as though you live in a house while paying rent rather than a monthly mortgage payment. You might want to save this article for future reference! 

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