Development

Can’t afford a house near uptown? These townhomes could be the solution.

A rendering of the David Weekley townhome community of McClintock in Plaza Midwood.
A rendering of the David Weekley townhome community of McClintock in Plaza Midwood. Courtesy of David Weekley Homes

As the dwindling supply of houses in Charlotte pushes prices higher, there’s one bright spot in the market: townhomes.

New townhome construction increased by 20 percent last year, according to data from housing market research group Metrostudy. Builders started on just over 1,800 townhouses. And more have been announced this year by homebuilding giants like David Weekley Homes and local developers alike.

But construction of single-family, detached housing was essentially unchanged last year, according to Metrostudy data, even though Charlotte’s population is growing rapidly. And prices reflect the tight market — the average new home price in 2018 was nearly $350,000.

“There’s this old saying that people buy townhomes where they can’t afford houses and people buy condos where they cant afford townhomes,” said Tim McCollum, Principal at developer Revolve Residential.

Many of the townhome projects underway offer products in the $300,000 and $400,000 range in neighborhoods close to Uptown, where buying a house for that price is becoming increasingly difficult. But others are offering more expensive, luxury experiences.

Two projects east of Uptown from the same builder illustrate this.

David Weekley Homes’ high-density division is building the McClintock, a development in Plaza Midwood with 21 units starting in the $500,000 range. The homebuilder also plans to start construction soon on a community in nearby Villa Heights, with 56 townhomes, as well as paired homes and single-family homes, starting at around $300,000.

The demand is partially driven by aging millennials, who are moving out of apartments but may not be ready for home ownership, McCollum said. Revolve built the Lumina Townhomes in South End a few years ago, and he said the 20 units sold out in 10 days.

Pat Riley, CEO of Allen Tate Companies, explains why Charlotte continues to face low supplies of homes on the market.

Development company Hopper Communities built its first townhouse project in South End a few years ago. The company’s founder, Bart Hopper, said townhomes are cheaper for builders too, especially with rising land and construction costs.

“You can get more townhomes on a property than you can houses,” he said. “So it helps make the economics work.”

Here are some of the other major townhome developments in the area.

David Weekley Homes

David Weekley sold the second highest number of townhomes in the Charlotte market last year, according to Metrostudy. The homebuilder is also expected to start sales on Brightwalk, in the Double Oaks neighborhood, in the spring. The 50 units range from 1400 to 2000 square feet, and will be near Camp North End, a nearly 80-acre redevelopment of an old industrial site.

Sales will start on the Plaza Midwood community this summer, the company said in a January release.

Hopper Communities

Though Hopper’s company started its first project a few years ago, it already has four communities underway. The first phase of its South End project was fully leased, and a 33-unit second phase is under construction. Hopper is also working on two communities just west of Uptown, Grandin Heights and Uptown West. All three are offering townhomes in the $300,000 and $400,000 range.

The company is also building six, three-story luxury townhomes in Myers Park, priced in the mid-$600,000 range.

Vista Homes

Charlotte-based Vista Homes announced Tuesday it was starting sales at the 14 townhomes in its Plaza Row community in Villa Heights. Pricing starts in the upper $300,000s, the company said.

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Courtesy of Vista Homes

Matthews projects

Multiple townhome developments are underway in Matthews, as Charlotte’s development wave expands further out. Greenville, N.C.-based Taft Development Group started construction on Residences Galleria, a 250-unit residential project on 20 acres on Monroe Road near the Charlotte city line. The development features both townhomes and apartments, and move-ins are expected to start in winter of 2020, Taft said in a March release.

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Courtesy of Taft Development Group

David Weekley homes recently celebrated the opening of Eden Hall, which offers both townhomes and single-family homes not far from downtown Matthews. The townhomes start at around $360,000.

New companies are using technology, such as Offerpad, Knock.com and Zillow, to disrupt the home buying and selling process nationwide, and in the Charlotte area.

Danielle Chemtob covers economic growth and development for the Observer. She’s a 2018 graduate of the journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill and a California transplant.
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