Townhomes are springing up at Elements at Edgemont Highlands. The development off Florida Road is part of a boom in townhome construction around Durango.
Plans call for 32 townhomes at Elements. The first six are built or under construction. One is sold and occupied, while another is under contract.
Townhomes are also under construction or planned in other Durango developments, including Three Springs, Twin Buttes and Crimson Cliffs.
Durango’s rash of townhome construction is part of a national trend toward smaller, more efficient homes that require less upkeep.
McMansions of 3,000 square feet and more are out, while smaller homes of 2,000 square feet or less are in.
“What we’re seeing mostly is a post-recession trend toward a more conservative approach for a lot of things financially, including their housing purchase,” said Jaime Marquez, who with her husband, Luis, is the builder and agent for Elements at Edgemont Highlands.
The townhomes at Elements at Edgemont Highlands cost in the $450,000 to $500,000 range. Sizes vary from 1,365 to 2,200 square feet.
Townhomes can be less expensive than a similar stand-alone, single-family home, but not always.
“Townhomes aren’t necessarily less expensive,” Jaime Marquez said. “What you’re getting is energy efficiency, and you’re getting a smaller lot, so less maintenance.”
Having three exposed walls rather than four helps keep townhomes warm in the winter.
Townhomes by definition are attached to another residence. Contemporary townhomes typically stand one to three stories and have the same luxury finishes and appliances as are found in comparable single-family homes.
Elements is about 6 miles east of downtown Durango off of Florida Road. The setting is rural, with large windows providing views of surrounding pines.
“This is a turnkey purchase for someone with expectations,” Marquez said.
Early interest has come from Durango locals who are downsizing from larger properties and from second-home buyers, Marquez said.
Townhomes increasingly are part of the housing mix.
In Three Springs, 34 townhomes have been constructed. The master plan for the development calls for 250 to 300.
“People looking for townhomes typically like the price point and low maintenance,” said Tim Zink, Three Springs’ general manager.
At Twin Buttes, plans call for 70 townhome units to be built in the next two years along with 89 single-family units. The first phase calls for 115 townhomes.
“What we’re really trying to do is diversify the product,” said Marc Snider, Twin Buttes’ communications director.
Another development, Crimson Cliffs near the Iron Horse Inn in north Durango, has plans for 26 townhomes. Six are under construction. Of those, four are under contract, said Don Ricedorff, a Realtor with The Wells Group.
Other, existing townhome developments dot the Durango area, from Durango Mountain Resort to the area behind Home Depot.
For buyers, townhomes often mean a downshift from a larger single-family home. Jeannie Heck, a retired teacher from Lawrence, Kans., decided to downsize. She’s a widow, and her adult children are married with families of their own.
She purchased one of the first townhomes at Elements at Edgemont Highlands.
“I didn’t need the maintenance or the cost of a single-family home, but I wanted more privacy than a condo offers,” she said in an email message.
Heck said it’s different living in a townhome after decades in larger homes.
“It is difficult to downsize after raising a family for 40 years, but I know simplifying, cost-effectiveness and lower-maintenance living will be well worth it in the long run,” she said.