After Recession Dip, Townhouse Construction Moving Along Increasing Trend


Construction of attached single-family housing (townhouses) is increasing both in terms of total units and market share.

Per second quarter 2012 Census data of Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design, total townhouse construction increased significantly in recent months, matching a post-Great Recession high set during the homebuyer tax credit period. However, market share remains lower than in past years.

Quarterly starts of townhouses rose from 11,000 starts in the second quarter of 2011 to 17,000 starts during the same period of 2012. Using a one-year moving average, the market share of townhouses now stands at 11% of all single-family starts, up from 10.4% for the first quarter of 2012.

The peak market share of the last two decades for townhouse construction was set during the first quarter of 2008, when it reached 14.6%. This peak was set after a fairly consistent increase in share since the early 1990s.

Despite the drop in market share during the Great Recession, I expect the share for townhouse construction to increase in coming years. The prospects for the townhouses are positive given larger numbers of homebuyers looking for medium density environments and urban villages that offer walkable environments and other amenities.

*Data note: In previous posts on this topic, I calculated the market share in terms of new home sales. We will now calculate the share in terms of all single-family starts and on an annual moving average basis.

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