WHY IT WORKED: With units starting at 2,107 square feet, the Georgian-style town-homes at The Fountains are every bit as spacious as nearby single-family abodes, minus the maintenance. Landscaping, snow removal, lawn care, and roof upkeep are handled by the HOA.

  • Known for its ample park space, 36 playgrounds, seasonal fireworks displays, and summer outdoor concerts, the village of Carol Stream is downright neighborly. And yet it's just one mile from the Metra commuter rail system and 45 minutes from downtown Chicago.
  • The townhomes are situated directly across from Town Center Park, a hub marked by four fountains, several ponds, and walking trails. In addition, the village is bisected by the Illinois Prairie Path, a 61-mile stretch of hiking, biking, equestrian, and nature trails.
  • Whereas most of the local housing stock is stick-built with 2x4 framing, the bones of these residences consist of 2x6 members with a 3-foot brick base, offering superior soundproofing and insulation.
  • Standard features include two or three balconies per unit, plus an attached, tuck-under, two-car garage with a separate full storage area. Lower levels include look-out basements.PROJECT CREDITSProject: The Fountains at Town Center, Carol Stream, Ill.; Sales started: March 2005; Sales through February 2006: 123; Units planned: 145; Price: $302,000 to $330,000; Unit size: 2,107 to 2,548 square feet; Builder/Developer: Town & Country Homes, Lombard, Ill.; Architect: Bloodgood Sharp Buster Architects and Planners, West Des Moines, Iowa; Landscape designer: Hitchcock Design Group, Naperville, Ill.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Des Moines, IA.