In recent years, the application of district heating systems for the heat supply of residential districts has been increasing in Germany. Central supply systems can be very efficient due to diverse energy demand profiles which may lead to reduced installed equipment capacity. Load diversity in buildings has been investigated in former studies, especially for the electricity demand. However, little is known about the influence of single building characteristics (such as building envelope or hot water demand) on the overall heating peak load of a residential district. For measuring the diversity, the peak load ratio (PLR) index is used to represent the percentage reduction of peak load of a district system from a simple sum of individual peak loads of buildings. A total of 144 residential building load profiles have been created with the dynamic building simulation software IDA ICE for a theoretical analysis in which the PLR reaches 15%. Within this study, certain district features are identified which lead to higher diversity. Furthermore, these results are used in a district heating simulation model which confronts the possible advantage of reduced installed capacity with the practical disadvantage of heat distribution losses. Likewise, the influence of load density and the district´s building structure can be analyzed. This study shows that especially in districts with high load density, which consist of newly constructed buildings with low supply temperature and high influence of the hot water demand, the advantages of load diversity can be exploited.