The Challenges of Today’s Townhouse Market


More and more New York townhouse buyers want reliable architectural and historical information about the properties on the market. Unfortunately, they often encounter Manhattan and Brooklyn townhouse listings that have inaccurate information about a property’s architecture and history.

Reading real estate advertisements, for example, you’d think that Gilded Age architect Stanford White designed dozens of Upper East Side townhouses. He didn’t. Many real estate listings for townhouses in every neighborhood give inaccurate construction dates or mis-represent the architectural style. (Red-brick Italianate townhouses of the 1850s and 1860s are frequently described as Federal, which is actually a 1820s and early 1830s style.) Other listings do not inform the would-be buyers that a townhouse was altered in the decades after its construction and, therefore, reflects two or three different styles in its facade and interior.

This erroneous information can create a variety of unnecessary problems. For townhouse sellers, inaccurate—or missing—information can hinder the sale of a property at the most advantageous price. An architecturally intact townhouse usually fetches a significant premium.