The American dream may be a house with a white picket fence, but an increasing number of buyers are choosing condos and co-ops instead. Last year, a record 970,000 existing condos and co-ops were sold, an 8 percent increase over 2003. Prices have jumped, too. In 2004's last quarter, the median price for an existing condo was $203,200, which is $15,000 more than the median cost to buy a single-family home.

“The condo market has clearly matured over the last decade, accounting for a market share almost as big as the new-home market, and has been appreciating faster than single-family homes,” notes David Lereah, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, which collected the data.

Joel Brockmann, development director for Lane Co., sees multiple reasons for the current condo craze. “Much of it is location-driven. Traffic is bad in lots of urban areas,” says Brockmann, who is overseeing a handful of condo projects for Lane. “And lots of folks are delaying marriage and family and don't want to be renting for 10 to 15 years.”

Source: National Association of Realtors