Why it worked: Great price for a great location. At the lower price point, most builders only offer multifamily units. Lakewood Grove's homes include basements and two-car garages.

* A unique country-home design allows Lakewood to put two homes on one lot and offer each at an affordable price. Technically duplexes, they're attached at the garages and have varying elevations, giving them the profiles and privacy of single-family homes.

* With diverse floor plans and price points, Lakewood hits every buyer demographic from young singles and divorcees to growing families and empty-nesters.

* Lafayette, the single-family model, is a 2,752-square-foot, four-bedroom home with a base price of $263,990. It includes a den that can be used as a home office, a feature many buyers had requested.

* Lakewood doesn't customize plans. The company's niche is the value of what is included--primarily the basement.

Project Credits

Project: Lakewood Grove, Round Lake, Ill.; Sales started: May 2002; Sales through March 2003: 279; Units planned: 800; Price: $155,000 to $303,000; Unit size: 1,021 to 3,988 square feet; Developer/Builder: Lakewood Homes, Hoffman Estates, Ill.; Architects: Balsamo, Olsen, & Lewis, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.; Bloom & Fiorino, Oakbrook, Ill.