HIP Tool: Townhomes

Townhomes are attached single family units, generally sharing one or both side walls with neighboring units. Individual units may have their own small front or back yards or share a common open space. Depending on design and underlying development regulations, units may be located on separate lots or on undivided, commonly owned land. Allowing townhomes in single family zones can promote affordable housing opportunities and increased diversity in both established and new communities.


Townhomes are a common and well-established way to increase density and diversity. Styles that allow side-by-side units with individual yards fit well in single-family neighborhoods, and can provide a good transition between lower and higher density residential or mixed-use zones. Design guidelines can be an important complement to the implementation of a townhome ordinance to ensure conformity with appearance, scale and features of the existing homes.

Townhomes can provide a more affordable option to traditional single-family homes because of the limited land ownership. However, the homes are not necessarily more affordable in and of themselves. Consider offering developer incentives like density bonuses to include affordable units within a development.

Tool Profile

Focus Areas

  • Transit Oriented Development
  • Expensive Housing Markets
  • Innovative Single Family Techniques

Project Types

  • Single Family
  • Multifamily
  • Ownership
  • Rental
  • Market Rate
  • Subsidized

Affordability Level

  • 80% to 120% AMI
  • Less than 80% AMI

Housing Goal

  • Affordability
  • Diversity