A closer look into the U.S. Census Bureau’s Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design finds that townhouse construction, in the first quarter of 2020, was flat on a year-over-year basis. During the first quarter of 2020, single-family attached starts totaled 22,000, which was equal to the total for the first quarter of 2019. However, over the last four quarters, townhouse construction starts totaled 110,000 units, -7% lower than the prior four quarter total (118,000). 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% of total single-family construction. This high point was set after a fairly consistent increase in the share beginning in the early 1990s. As renters and prospective homebuyers seek out locations away from crowded city neighborhoods, due to concerns related to the coronavirus crisis, it is anticipated that townhouse construction should experience an uptick in the second half of 2020.
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