Townhomes Are Having a Moment Again

Townhomes are now the fastest-growing segment of the single-family housing construction market, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Construction of townhomes surged 17.8 percent from 2014 to 2015. That is compared to a 10 percent increase of construction of detached single-family homes and a 12.1 percent increase in co-op, condo, and apartment construction in that time period.

Last year, townhomes comprised about 12.4 percent of all new construction in the single-family home market, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

First-time buyers are being drawn to these rows of attached single-family homes. About a quarter of current homeowners or potential buyers say they plan to buy a townhouse this year, according to a survey conducted by realtor.com®. That made townhomes the most popular form of housing, after detached single-family homes.

Townhomes and row homes tend to sell for much less than detached single-family homes. The median price for a townhouse was $198,000 in September, about 12 percent less than detached single-family homes, according to data from realtor.com®.

“Townhouses are indeed the affordable solution to expensive land in more and more urban areas,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “For many people, it can be the most affordable way to buy a home and to get into a more desirable neighborhood…They should be gaining in popularity as [more] people realize they’re more affordable alternatives to renting.”

Plus, there’s plenty of appeal to these types of home, which tend to be located in trendier, more walkable areas near good schools, retail, and employment and transit centers, Smoke says. Townhomes also don’t tend to carry a lot of outdoor maintenance for homeowners who are looking for less yard work.

Builders tend to like townhouses too, since they occupy less space than detached homes, which allows builders to construct more of them on smaller lots, notes Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist.

Source: “What’s Old Is New Again: Why Townhouses Are the Latest ‘It’ Home,” realtor.com® (April 5, 2017)