Although many buyers in the past have shied away from townhouse living in favor of full-service condos and co-ops, a variety of factors have converged that many believe is creating a major shift in buyer interest. In fact, it has already occurred in the very active multi-family category. Investors see these properties as attractive investments but they also appeal to buyers who are looking to use rental income to offset mortgage and tax bills. The on-going low level of inventory has created a third category of buyer interested in multi-family homes that can be converted to single-family status.
Another group of buyers who would normally gravitate to condominiums are turning away from them to protect their privacy. More condos are requiring a level of financial disclosure that many buyers find objectionable. Many condos also have rules restricting short-term rentals, live/work arrangements, and sometimes use by friends and family members. Townhouses on the other hand offer total privacy and are without restrictions on personal use.
For all types of buyers, value is a major factor that now favors single and multi-family townhouses. With new development condos reaching an average of $2,178 per square foot, and for re-sale condos $1,382 per square foot, townhouses look to be bargains with a market-wide average price per square foot of $1,162. Condos’ monthly common charges can also be a consideration—some part-time residents would prefer not to pay hefty monthly common charges that include the expense of high-end amenities that they seldom, if ever, use.
One of the main drawbacks of townhouse ownership has been the regular upkeep associated with these buildings, especially for those owners who don’t reside in the city full-time, or at all, in the case of investors. This aspect of ownership is becoming easier thanks to management companies that are springing up to keep an eye on single- and multi-family townhouses and condominiums for absentee owners. The Internet and other high-tech solutions are also available to those interested in monitoring their property via Twitter and in-house sensors and cameras. Owners can also use websites like TaskRabbit to connect with local people willing to run errands and do odd jobs as needed.