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‘Detached townhome’ concept gaining traction in Colorado Springs, other growing markets

While they still come at a cost, they're typically cheaper than traditional homes
‘Detached townhome’ concept gaining traction in Colorado Springs, other growing markets
Posted at 6:14 PM, May 24, 2021

COLORDO SPRINGS — With construction costs soaring and demand at an all time high, many people are opting to build what homebuilders are dubbing “detached townhomes.”

The homes, which have been sprouting up in Colorado Springs the past few years, are built similar to townhomes. They’re tall and narrow, taking up a small footprint. The difference is, these homes are detached, offering homeowners more privacy and independence.

When it comes to the new home market, not much has changed in what people have been asking for since Joe Loidolt started at Classic Homes over 30 years ago.

“A lot of it’s pretty much the same,” said Loidolt, who is the president of Colorado Springs-based Classic Homes. “Primarily, people are still looking for that suburban type home. Three bedroom, two bath, with a yard.”

But one thing has changed, and it’s changed big time.

“Now people are looking more for that affordability part of it,” Loidolt said.

Based on national home price averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a house that cost you $100,000 in 1990 would now cost you around $215,000 on average in the U.S.

But with Colorado Springs’ cost of living well outpacing the nation’s, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any new home below $300,000-400,000 here these days.

“Demand for new homes is really high right now,” he said.

What you will find is a new type of home.

“They’re like detached townhomes,” he said.

In our area, two builders, Classic Homes and Oakwood Homes, are breaking ground on communities full of these small footprint, yet still full-size homes.

Classic Homes dubs its concept the ‘Midtown Collection’ and Oakwood Homes dubs its concepts ‘American Dream’ and ‘Carriage House.’

Loidolt says the average Midtown Collection lot size is a little more than half the size of a typical suburban home lot. The homes have limited to no yard space, instead featuring expansive patios to serve as outdoor gathering space.

They’re split-level, ranging from two to three floors. But they have the same amenities offered in traditional homes. Two to three bedrooms and bathrooms, a garage, full kitchen, and flex space. The largest model is over 2,000 square feet.

Same goes for Oakwood’s American Dream and Carriage House concepts. Some Carriage House models solve the no-yard problem by adding a rooftop deck to the top of the house.

It’s a solution being pioneered in other fast-growing, rising-cost-of-living markets.

“There’s a project in Denver that was similar,” Loidolt said. “There’s another one in Austin.”

And it’s paying off for homebuilders.

“These have been very popular,” Loidolt said.

It’s bringing a wider clientele than expected.

“We thought it would be more millennials,” he said. “But we’re seeing everything from first time buyers to empty nesters.”

It does come with its drawbacks. Higher population density means more infrastructure needs to be built in a smaller area for cities.

And even though it’s cheaper than most of what’s out there, the price tag for Classic’s base Midtown Collection model still sits over $300k. Oakwood’s American Dream concept is slightly cheaper, with its most affordable floor plan starting in the high $200k range, and it’s only offered in Oakwood’s Banning Lewis Ranch development right now.

But in this market, buyers are still eager to make those sacrifices.

“In fact in this [Hannah Ridge] project and Wolf Ranch, we’ve actually had to temporarily halt sales so we can get caught up,” Loidolt said.