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Row Homes are Filling the Condo Void

University Hills, Sloan's Lake and other Denver neighborhoods see an infusion of residential assets


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With the continued scarcity of for-sale condominiums available in Denver, a different product type – row homes – are filling the void. There are several row home developments currently underway in Denver, including Observatory Row in University Hills neighborhood and Perry Row in Sloan's Lake. The individual-home design of row homes is preferable to buyers that don't want to live in a multi-story, multi-residence condo building.

Row homes are a natural evolution of the densification of any urban area. In cities with longer histories, the row home is the standard of living in areas that provide a pedestrian-oriented environment. Think Georgetown in Washington, D.C., Lincoln Park in Chicago, Beacon Hill, Boston, or Pacific Heights in San Francisco. These are walkable neighborhoods where residents are accustomed to the density, while also enjoying the intimacy and privacy afforded to them by a row home.

This is a relatively new product type for Denver, but as the city continues to evolve with the desire for all demographics to live in a location where you can walk to a coffee shop or brew pub or work, it will continue to be a more common style of home. It is also becoming a popular substitute for people who aren't able to find or afford a condominium to live – because of a lack of availability, due largely to the construction defect laws that have been hampering condo development in Denver for the past several years.

Not only is there is a lack of availability of condos, but the condo lifestyle doesn't appeal to everyone. Row homes provide buyers with the autonomy of a detached, single-family home with a private entrance, garage and outdoor space, combined with the lock-and-leave, low maintenance benefits of a condo building without being on-top-of or below another unit.

Some of the features of a row home that aren't available in a condo building include: 

OUTDOOR SPACES

Row homes are designed provide residents with their own, private outdoor space. Whether it's a rooftop terrace – complete with garden or lawn – or a fenced-in courtyard, people can take a few steps and be outside. This is opposed to walking down a long hallways, waiting for an elevated and hiking through a lobby until you finally reach the streetscape of a condo building.

And, once you do, you may still be a long walk from a small, grassy area or a large park, especially if your building is in the concrete jungle of downtown Denver. The outdoor spaces provided in a row home are an especially desirable feature to dog owners, who want as much convenience as possible for their pets.

WIDE OPEN FLOORPLANS

Because row homes aren't stacked on top of each other and aren't confined in design as a condo building, there is a greater opportunity for open floorplans. For example, interior condominium units are naturally boxed-in by neighboring units, meaning there is only one, outdoor view. Row homes don't have the same confinement and residents can enjoy more ample, natural light sources from nearly all of the rooms of their house.

GREAT ECONOMY

Row homes provide a better economy, both in terms of space and price. For example, the average new construction condo will cost upward of $450 per square foot and row homes in many areas are less than $400 per square foot.

MORE PRIVACY

Row homes provide a level of privacy that a condo cannot possibly achieve, based on design and the number of people living in the development. The owner of a row home can enjoy entering his or her own front door as opposed to a lobby entrance shared by hundreds of residents living in a condo. Such an owner doesn't have to ride on elevators with strangers, bump shoulders with people they vaguely know in a mail room, share common areas – indoors and out – or worry about their dog getting into a scrap with a fellow canine in a pubic space. Row homes also provide private garages as opposed to condo buildings with shared garages and minimally sized storage. Row homes provide more privacy and the ability to interact with neighbors at your choosing.

Row home development is active in Denver, and providing people with an option that many find preferable to a condo lifestyle. In addition to great features, many of the city's newest row home are being build in established, urban neighborhoods, making them all the more amenity-rich (with nearby restaurants, coffee shops and retail). This is a great time to consider row homes as a lifestyle option.

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