If you do decide on a condo or property in a mandatory HOA, your due diligence should include a careful examination of the financial health of that association, as well as the guidance of your own CPA regarding the impact of your purchase on your financial situation.
You would face a little less competition with the larger apartment, but it is a bigger investment and a bigger risk. In addition to the foreclosure/short sale ratio that Laura references, you will also want to look at the delinquency rate in the condo association. A lot of condos are running very high delinquencies, which makes them much more risky and also harder to get a loan.
Let me know if you need any help running some numbers. I have condo rental property in DC, so I understand some of the dynamics that may factor in.
Piney Orchard is always a hot commmodity and much in demand with the Fort Meade crowd.