A HOST OF BUILDERS HAVE EXPANDED their product mix to include townhomes —and 2005 promises to deliver more of the same as builders deal with land constraints across the nation.

This year, Arlington, Texas-based Choice Homes offered townhomes in all six of the company's markets. The company estimates about 20 percent of its business is in attached product. Denver-based MDC Homes also introduced a townhome series in all of its markets and plans to do more. Other companies are introducing high-density product only in certain markets: Plantation Homes has new offerings in Houston; and Morrison Homes, which primarily focuses on the move-up market, introduced a townhome line this year in the Orlando market.

In an attempt to capture first-time buyers in the Las Vegas market, Plano, Texas-based Meritage Homes will introduce a triplex condo product with a density of approximately 14 units per acre. “We are looking for the right opportunities to continue our growth,” says Meritage CEO John Landon. “That means creating the right product offering in an ‘A' location.” The triplex product serves two objectives: reaching a hot buyer demographic with a unique offering and maximizing density in an increasingly tight land market. Prices for the Las Vegas line are expected to start in the upper $100,000s.