Condos and Townhomes Offer Great Homeownership Options


By Ali Sahabi of Optimum Group, LLC

President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter

     One of the most important innovations in modern housing that has put the American Dream of homeownership within reach of the widest range of Americans is the townhome or condominium home or ‘condo’. Today condos are creating a great alternative for homebuyers who seek the benefits of homeownership with the convenience and affordability of multi-family living.

     Even though the first condos were built in the early 1880s to address the housing needs of city dwellers, the concept really came into its own in the 1960s and today there are more than 30 million condominium units in North America - a number that is expected to grow in the years ahead. Condos provide an excellent homeownership alternative for demographics such as single professionals, partners without children and active retirees. Buyers who do not need to factor in a yard when they choose a home now have a greater variety of options than those needing traditional housing options.

     For example, condominiums provide an attractive option for younger buyers who are looking to purchase their first home. Today many younger buyers young find that that purchasing their first condo is both more financially attractive and more feasible than anticipated especially since interest rates have remained at historic lows for the past few years and these buyers may consider their purchase as a step towards affording a more substantial residence later. 

     Today’s seniors are healthier and more active than previous generations of retirees and view their ‘golden years’ as a new era of independence. Condos provide an attractive alternative for older homebuyers because many everyday maintenance activities are no longer necessary, and the few that are generally are covered by their monthly condo fee. In addition, condos are zoned to be more accessible to mass transit, health care options, shopping, fine dining and entertainment than single-family homes.

     According to a 2015 report by National Association of Realtors, condominiums in many areas have been increasing in value faster than single - family homes.  And some families are finding that it makes financial sense for them to purchase a condo in a university community as an investment – one that can be used by their child during his or her college career, then rented or resold after graduation. Over the past few years, multi-family building has outpaced single family home construction in the state. That means that today, California homebuyers can choose from a far wider selection of multi-family home opportunities than ever before.

     Multifamily developments built to be sold as condominiums often feature value-added amenities and services, especially in communities hoping to attract empty nesters interested in trading a large home for a smaller, more luxurious living space. Innovations in design and building technologies and materials that make today’s state-of-the-art new homes the healthiest, most durable and most convenient homes ever built are available to condo buyers. For instance, today’s new condo designs often feature gourmet kitchens with state-of-the-art energy-saving appliances and come standard with high-end materials such as wood floors and cabinets or granite or marble counters and vanity tops.

     A major advancement in condo design is the increased focus on sound-proofing units so a condo owner may be living in a building with neighbors, yet will feel as if they are in a separate structure. Today’s home builders spend a great deal of time and resources to mitigate noise issues by increasing the amount of drywall or using concrete or brick between units. Today’s architects are also working to 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 keep today’s condos as quiet as possible, builders often install double-paned windows with a high Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating which usually falls between 28 and 35 – far exceeding single-paned windows which have a STC rating of 20.

     Homeowners who enjoy the outdoors but don’t have the time or interest in maintaining a big yard often find a perfect balance with green spaces surrounding condominium buildings. Condo developments often provide lifestyle-friendly features such as swimming pools, fitness centers and media rooms.

     Throughout the spring, America celebrates National New Homes, Remodeling and Homeownership months to help make today’s homeowners and homebuyers the best-informed in history.  So if you are shopping for a new home, consider the alternatives: a condominium just might be the perfect choice for you.

     For more information on homebuying, remodeling, or just enjoying your home, visit our website and have a great Fourth of July.