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Manhattan Townhouses and the High Price of Being Single

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[This week, real estate appraiser, Curbed graph guru and podcasting superhero Jonathan Miller is in a townhouse frame of mind.]

Manhattan townhouses represent about 2 percent of all unit residential sales in Manhattan, but since I haven’t done much with that data lately I thought I’d analyze the premium between one-family and two-to-five-family townhouse properties.

First, I inflation-adjusted the average sales price for the three property types. As an aside, the rise in townhouse prices was at half the rate of condos over the past decade?the impact of the credit boom on condo new development skewed their price growth higher than townhouses.

Second, I measured the single family townhouse premium (gray columns) by taking the lower of the two-family (black line) or three-family (bright red) average sales price and deducted that from the corresponding one-family (maroon) average sales price.

While there is a premium placed on one-family townhouse properties over multi-unit townhouses, this premium seems to vary over time.
The largest one-family premium occurred in the period 2001-2006 during much of the credit/housing boom (gray oval), with the exception of 2004. The premium price of a one-family townhouse over two-to-five family townhouses during the period was in excess of 150 percent. That boom period was bookmarked by periods before and after where the one-family premium was lower (red ovals).

While I realize that townhouses are a niche small market (149 sales in 2009) and subject to a variation in the types of properties available at any given time, these results suggest that during a period of frenzied growth, a larger premium was placed on one-family townhouse ownership and less emphasis was placed on rental income. That world is behind us.
· Manhattan Townhouse Inflation-Adjusted Average Sales Price by Type v. 1-Family Premium [Miller Samuel]
· Three Cents Worth archive [Curbed]