Florida Real Estate Trends: The Market For Townhouses Steadily Rises

Just when the prices of single-family homes have soared in Florida, the number of townhouses has multiplied throughout the state.

Usually defined as a cross between a condo and a single-family home, townhouses offer the best of both worlds, because they are detached units with private entrances, but do not have landscaping for the individual owner to take care of.

In the South Florida region, as the housing industry continues to rise up from the damage brought about by the condominium boom, townhouses have become the replacement material for high-rise development, note local housing market observers. The same thing also happened in the city of Aventura in the 1980s after an earlier condominium boom,as the area’s original developer built townhouses near the Turnberry Isle golf course during the downturn in the condo market.

The Rise In Townhouse Development A Reaction To High Land And Construction Costs

Looking at the rest of the state, townhouse development is viewed not so much as a reaction to the condo boom gone bust, but as a reaction to higher land and construction costs, which have attributed to to the skyrocketing of prices in single-family homes.

In the Tampa/St. Petersburg region the overall housing market has weakened, however the developments in the townhouse market have gone in the opposite direction according to market watchers. At the end of June 2005, the area had a 2.4-month supply of townhouses in the Tampa/St. Petersburg market, but as of June 30, 2006, there was only a 1.6 month supply because of the rising demand for these units.

Housing analysts noted that as of June 30, 2006, the area had 4,433 townhouse closings during the previous 12 months, as compared to just 1,363 closings as of June 30, 2003; 1,834 closings as of June 30, 2004; and 3,131 as of June 30, 2005. These days, more families than ever are moving into townhouses in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, and though much lower-priced condo conversions appeal to the same market, developers here have converted 15,000 apartments into condos in the last several years.

South Florida Also Sees A Rise In Townhouse Development

The South Florida region has also seen a huge increase in the development of townhouses in the past couple of years because of a shortage of land, notes housing market watchers.

The total number of townhouse development as a percentage of total housing production has rapidly grown for the past five or six years in South Florida, while in the Treasure Coast, the increase in townhouse development has only been apparent in the last three years. According to a local housing developer who specializes in townhouses and single-family homes, two years ago their firm built 100 townhouses at the Wyndham Park development in West Palm Beach. Then, a year and a half ago, began the Sail Harbour development, which has 473 townhouses.

All of those units sold out, notes local market watchers. Meanwhile, condominium conversions of mostly garden-style apartments compete with new townhouses here, since they are offered in the same price range, which are sometimes quite cheaper than new townhouse units, analysts add, because before these were converted, the apartments rented for $800 to $1,200 a month.

Vanessa Arellano Doctor


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