- The National Association of Home Builders has analyzed the Census Bureau’s Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design data and found that there were 86,000 townhouse construction starts in 2015, an 18% increase from 2014.
- The NAHB also found that single-family attached starts were up 5% from the last quarter of 2014, to 21,000.
- The market share of new townhouses is 11.9% of all single-family starts for 2015, down from its peak of 14.6% in 2008. However, the NAHB said the long-term prospects for townhouses are positive considering how they fit into the walkable, medium-density urban villages that are gaining popularity.
The growth of the townhouse share of the single-family market could also be dependent on reduced purchase activity by first-time buyers. Another NAHB report this month found that as of 2014, more than 8.8 million (20%) young adults ages 25 to 34 lived with their parents or parents-in-law, up from 4.6 million (12%) in 2000. If rates of homeownership for this category returned to 2000 levels, two million additional millennial households could potentially play a significant role in the housing market.
Nevertheless, once again, the shift to a preference for urban environments enters into the equation. For example, a December 2015 American Institute of Architects Home Design Trend Survey found that access to public transportation, multi-generational housing, walkable neighborhoods and mixed-use facilities topped the list of homeowner preferences.
And this trend doesn’t limit itself to an age group. Once thought to be the territory of millennials, more baby boomers are choosing to live in urban centers as they sell their larger homes in the suburbs and move to the city in search of many of the same features that draw a younger crowd — walkability, bikeability, entertainment and a desire for more community-oriented living.