Narrow Townhouses: When Cute Can Cost You

skinny brownstone Narrow Townhouses: When Cute Can Cost YouNew Yorkers are size-conscious in all things–not only waist sizes and Wall Street bonuses, but townhouse frontages as well.

As McMansions head toward extinction, it seems demand for big homes continues in Manhattan as interest in “quainter,” skinnier townhouses shrinks, according to New York and Jonathan Miller:

Five years ago, houses sixteen feet wide or less accounted for 25.9 percent of townhouse sales; in 2010 (as of December 15), they constituted just 16.2 percent. Townhouses that are just a little wider-seventeen to nineteen feet-dipped from 37.4 percent of sales in 2005 to 33.8 percent in 2010. The average square footage of houses sold in Manhattan has been rising every year since 2007. Turns out New Yorkers are size-conscious when it comes to everything, including townhouses.

Such shorter homes may languish on the market and sell for less, but therein lies the advantage for the status-conscious buyer looking to own a distinguished house in New York where they otherwise might not be able to afford more than a humble apartment. The narrower models can sell for 25 to 50 percent less than their behemoth brothers. “You could have two homes side by side, identical in square footage, and the wider one will sell for more,” Miller told New York.

So, which would you prefer?

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo