Townhouses Are Increasingly the Place to Call Home Nationwide

By Steve Brown

Townhouses Are Increasingly the Place to Call Home Nationwide

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(TNS)—The house of tomorrow may be a townhouse.

Rising construction prices and higher land costs have more builders and buyers turning to the high-density urban models.

Young buyers like the central location of most townhouses, too.

“If you look at the last four quarters of data of production of townhomes, the single-family attached market is up 24 percent,” says Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders. “It’s growing eight times as fast as the overall single-family market.”

With new home prices soaring, builders are hunting ways to produce more affordable houses—but finding land priced right for traditional homes, particularly in urban markets is a challenge.

Townhouses are increasingly an option, Dietz says.

“Townhouse construction tends to be a little smaller and more entry-level-market and more dense,” he says. “We see this as a great growth potential for the home-building market.”

Townhouse starts totaled 14 percent of the total building market in 2018—tied for the highest rate of construction ever, according to the NAHB.

“It’s the way out of some of those supply side headwinds,” he said at the building industry’s annual meeting recently held in Las Vegas. “This kind of home is selling. It’s just a question of whether builders can build it.”

Builders often have to compete with apartment developers for townhouse land, and cities can lag in providing proper zoning for the product. There can be pushback from traditional homeowners, too. When a large new home community in Fort Worth, Texas, recently added townhouses to its offering mix, homeowners in the development protested the move.

Empty nesters seeking to downsize are also attracted to the smaller homes.

Danushka Nanayakkara of the NAHB’s forecasting and analysis department says the industry is forecasting continued townhouse growth.

“This is a very appealing market for the millennials that want to walk to work and restaurants in an urban location,” she says. “It’s a way for builders to have more density.”

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