by Phillip B. Burum, Executive Vice President, Diversified Pacific,
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
The changing lifestyles of Americans is often cited as a primary reason that home buyers choose condominium units (condos) over single-family homes. Demographics that are on the increase include single professionals, divorcees, partners without children and active retirees. From young families just starting out to empty-nesters looking to downsize, multifamily homes are an increasingly popular option for U.S. households. According to a recent survey conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), approximately 32.6 million residences, or 24.6 percent of housing in the U.S. today are multifamily.
The ownership of a condominium is divided by each unit —condos are bought individually with buyers sharing ownership of communal spaces. Because of this, condos tend to be built to appeal to a buyer’s market. Typically, condominium communities are built with a specific lifestyle focus such as working professionals or seniors. Condominiums are the perfect choice for buyers seeking the stability and financial benefit of home ownership, but also the amenities and low-maintenance of multifamily communities.
One major advancement in condo development is the increased focus on sound proofing units so a condo owner may be living in a building with many other people, but feel that they are in their own private, quiet oasis. Builders are combating noise issues by increasing the amount of drywall or using concrete or brick between units. Architects are helping reduce noise impact by designing buildings so that bedrooms in one unit do not share a wall with a higher-noise room such as a kitchen or laundry in the adjoining unit. Windows are most often the way that noise travels in and out of rooms. To ease this frustration, builders may install double-paned windows with a high Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating which usually falls between 28 and 35 (single-paned windows have a STC rating of 20).
Home owners who enjoy the outdoors but don’t have the time or interest in maintaining a big yard find the perfect balance with green spaces on roofs and terraces of condominium buildings. Condo developments may also provide lifestyle -friendly features such as swimming pools, fitness centers and media rooms. Condos also are often located for quick access to restaurants, stores and cultural events without the need for a car.
A new development in multifamily building is condo neighborhoods designed for residents aged 55 and older and focus on building social engagement and offering a wide variety of lifestyle amenities. Many now feature lifestyle directors, fitness classes and social clubs and are built near local universities and public transit stops. These communities are great for buyers looking to have strong social ties with people in the same stage of life, but who still want to remain active and engaged with their community.
In today’s market, multifamily homes are getting smarter, healthier and more all-inclusive. Today, residents put having a fitness center and workout classes at a premium. Buyers are also looking for spaces that are good for the environment that can reduce their energy costs while also use resources responsibly. Today’s condo builders offer a new incorporation of high-tech devices where buyers can check their energy use with their smart phone or connect to the internet with Wi-Fi covering every spot in the building. They also want other new types of amenities like dog parks for their pets, biking and hiking trails and large communal areas to lounge outside on a sunny day or pleasant night.
So, if you're in the market for a new home, consider a condominium.
The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of home ownership. For additional information on homebuying, home improvements or the benefits of homeownership, go to www.biabuild.com on the web.