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Is condominium living right for you?  According to the National Association of Home Builders, condos are now an important housing option for home buyers nationwide.

Why are people choosing multifamily ownership?  Many home buyers find that condos offer advantages that a traditional single-family home doesn't.   For example, you may want to consider purchasing a condo if you are nearing retirement, frequently vacation in a specific area or own a home that is larger than you need after your grown children have moved out.  Condominiums also provide an attractive option for younger buyers who are looking to purchase their first home.

If you belong to one of the following groups, you may find that condominium living is a good bet:

Baby Boomers:  Baby boomers anticipating retirement frequently purchase condominiums or townhomes, often in areas boasting warmer weather, cultural attractions and easy access to good medical facilities.  Consider the fact that as you age, activities like mowing the lawn and cleaning the gutters may lose their charm.  If you invest in a condominium, many everyday maintenance activities are no longer necessary, and the few that are generally are covered by your monthly condo fee.

Vacationers:  Historically, the market for condominiums in scenic or vacation locations has been strong, thanks to consistently high resale values.  Keeping a second home tidy and undisturbed in the off season can be a chore; however, when you purchase a condo, either as part of a condominium community or in a condo-hotel, most of the unit's upkeep is covered by your monthly condo fee, whether you are in residence or not.

Empty Nesters: Many empty nesters are simply thinking about enjoying their freedom now that the kids are out of the house.  Older couples—especially those who once lived in urban areas—are returning to the cities, leaving behind the larger house, yard maintenance and the lengthy commute to downtown offices.  If you fall into this category, you may want to opt for a smaller, easier-to-manage condominium home that's not only close to your job, but also near shopping, fine dining and entertainment.

First-time Home Buyers:  During the recent period of unusually low mortgage interest rates, relatively young people found that purchasing their first was both more financially attractive and more feasible than they had anticipated.  Even though rates have risen slightly from those historic lows, enthusiastic condo builders have created a larger-than-expected inventory, keeping prices relatively affordable.  These buyers may consider their purchase as a step towards affording a more substantial residence later.   Many of today’s condos are easily accessible via mass transit, in neighborhoods where young professionals congregate.   While a condo can be the first step on an ownership ladder, it often is a good stand-alone investment.

According to the 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.  Additionally, 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.