With land costs increasing and family and household sizes decreasing, a growing share of homebuyers is opting for townhomes instead of traditional detached single-family homes.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates that townhomes comprised nearly 13% of all single-family starts last year, which was up 38% from the previous year. Rob Dietz, NAHB's chief economist, predicts townhomes will rise to a record high 15% of all single-family home sales in 2022 and could increase even more in coming years.
In Chattanooga, townhomes are proving especially popular around Chattanooga's urban core on the Southside, North Shore and Highland Park where hundreds of townhomes have been added in the past couple of years. Such townhomes allow for a denser housing stock that can be built close to nearby parks, entertainment and other attractions to allow residents to be able to work downtown with a much shorter commute time.
"Many people are seeing a benefit to buying townhomes over houses these days," said Chattanooga homebuilder Gabe Thomas, who has erected townhomes for both his former employer, Collier Construction, and his own company, RP (Rock Point) Homes. "We wanted to offer this type of option in the growing Southside, and we think we have a great location for our next project."
On the site of a former budget hotel torn down nearly three years ago along 20th Street, RP Homes is building 58 townhomes in a community known as Southside Square.
"In these townhomes, residents can feel the benefits of homeownership without having to maintain a home," Thomas said.
Within the new development of one-, two - and three-bedroom townhomes, Southside Square will be a gated community with a common area and dog park. The 2-acre project is being built on the site of the former Chatt City Suites motel on the block bounded by 20th and 19th streets and Mitchell and Read avenues, which Thomas said is near downtown and only a few blocks' walking distance to all of the growing attractions of Main Street.
"The combination of the great location on the Southside and being a gated community with the common area for residents, we believe, will offer a great value," Thomas said in a phone interview.
The townhomes are initially priced from $299,900 for a one-bedroom, two-bath unit up to $399,900 for a three-bedroom, three-bath unit. Plans are to have an interior courtyard, and each of the units are to offer garage parking. The floor plans range from 1,100 to 1,600 square foot for each townhome.
RP Homes began planning the Southside Square community in late 2021. The townhomes are currently under construction and are expected to be completed by the end of 2023. The initial townhomes, which are expected to be ready by February, are going on sale this month.
Thomas, who founded RP Homes in 2018, previously worked with Collier Construction where he helped develop other townhomes on the southside, including 100 South Broad.
"We like townhouses, which offer a more maintenance-free living arrangement and allow residents a chance to build a community," he said. "The gated community sets the standards of happy living, which gives the feel of living in a home without the stress of maintaining a home."
Thomas said townhomes are proving popular for a wide range of buyers, from empty nesters to young urben professionals to investors buying residential properties for rent. Although RP Homes is building and selling all of the homes in Southside Square, investors can buy such houses and lease the townhomes to others.
With a common lawn and park in the middle, there is no lawn care and less home maintenance for homeowners, although there is will be a home owners association at Southside Square with yearly dues paid by each owner to support the common areas within the gated community.
RP Homes is also planning a 55-unit townhome development at 1001 McCallie Ave. and another 150-unit townhome development along Highway 58 near North Hickory Valley Road. Site work has begun on both sites, Thomas said.
RP Homes also continues to develop a 92-unit townhome development with all rental units in East Brainerd known as the Guild.
More information about Southside Square is available from RP Homes' community manager Chris Roach at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 423-668-6030.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 423-757-6340. Follow him on Twitter @dflessner1