The questions you ask are tough ones but I believe there is an answer to them. Condos and Townhomes do gain in value as do detached single family homes. Yes school district, proximity to the ocean front, easy access to shopping and interstates affect value in each community. But if you take a condo and a single family home in the same area, these factors donâ€™t control which one will gain value faster.
Condos come with fees that can go up, special assessments and rules that can change by vote. These things donâ€™t necessarily mean that condos are a poor choice, it means you have to be comfortable with the requirements of the community rules. The advantage they bring to the table is ( in most attached condo communities) you have no grass to cut and the exterior of the home is maintained by the condo association not to mention the reduced (not eliminated) home owners insurance requirements.
Single family detached and attached (non condo) homes are not usually subject to condo fees but can have property owners association fees that are historically much less than condo fees. You own the home inside and out and are responsible for the maintenance and up keep. Your neighbors also have a greater affect on the value of the neighborhood by how well they maintain the appearance of their home. Some detached homes also offer enough property to expand the home in the future.
What I am trying to say is both styles have their advantages but one may fit your lifestyle and future plans better than the other.
Lets talk about value. Comparing January 1st thru September 30th of 2007 and 2008 (according to the Real Estate Information Network) the average home â€œsoldâ€ price went down 3.57% in Virginia Beach. Detached home prices were down 4.97% while Attached home prices rose 3.29%. in the same period. Some of this I believe is because the $150,000 to $225,000 dollar range homes have been selling while the higher price markets have been slow. There are currently 2321 detached home and 1526 attached homes on the market in Virginia Beach leaving less attached homes to choose from and in the lower price ranges. Does all of this mean they will hold their value better in the future? Not necessarily. It does mean that they are performing better in the CURRENT market.
House prices can fall but they can also level out and even go up. The problem is No One knows exactly what they are going to do. Speculation as Non Agent has offered is just a guess. If it were fact, we would be calling it hind sight. By the time most people realize the market has picked up, the market will have already picked up and the great deals will be a thing of the past.
Jenny, choose the home you love, hire a real estate agent that is a strong negotiator, look closely at the Comparative Market Analysis for the community and craft an offer that will accommodate your families needs.