DARYL ANDREWS, DIRECTOR OF SALES FOR PARK Place at Worman's Mill in Frederick, Md., has been selling condominiums since the early '80s, “back in the day when you couldn't give them away,” he says. “But that's not the case anymore.

“Someone in this country turns 55 every seven seconds; [and] the condo lifestyle is attractive for empty-nesters,” says Andrews. “What they're looking for is a condominium home, not an apartment, because they've acquired stuff over the years and they need a place for that stuff. Another market that's growing quite well is the single female market. They make up a growing number who have been purchasing condos over the last decade.”

Research backs up Andrews' anecdotal evidence. The NAHB's most recent Multifamily Market Index (MMI), a quarterly gauge of multifamily market activity and builder confidence, shows that condos are indeed hot. The MMI's component index for for-sale units jumped to 64 in the first quarter of 2004, up from 46.7 in the first quarter of 2003. “People are realizing that condos can be ideal for people who want to enjoy the financial advantages of homeownership while maintaining the amenity-rich, low-maintenance apartment lifestyle,” says Bobby Rayburn, NAHB president.

Design-wise, condos run the gamut from trendy, in-town lofts to luxury developments that look remarkably like single-family neighborhoods. Three projects that stand out are Ziani, a Brookfield Homes Southland development in Newport Coast, Calif.; Park Place at Worman's Mill from The Wormald Cos. in Frederick, Md.; and Greenwood Lofts, a Braden Fellman development in the Virginia-Highland section of Atlanta.