According to NAHB analysis of the most recent Census data of Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design, during the first quarter of 2022 single-family attached starts totaled 36,000, which is 16% higher than the first quarter of 2021. Over the last four quarters, townhouse construction starts totaled 152,000 units, 25% higher than the prior four quarter total (122,000).
Using a one-year moving average, the market share of new townhouses increased to 13.4% of all single-family starts. This represents a rebound for market share after a recent, covid-related declines for medium-density housing demand.
The peak market share of the last two decades for townhouse construction was set during the first quarter of 2008, when the percentage reached 14.6%, on a one-year moving average basis, of total single-family construction. This high point was set after a fairly consistent increase in the share beginning in the early 1990s.
The long-run prospects for townhouse construction remain positive given growing numbers of homebuyers looking for medium-density residential neighborhoods, such as urban villages that offer walkable environments and other amenities. This will be particularly true for prospective first-time buyers in high cost metro areas.