The term “condo” is an abbreviation of the term “condominium.” Condominiums are defined by the form of ownership rather than a style of building. Unlike an apartment, a condo is a private residence owned by an individual homeowner. Condo buyers own their units and a share of common use areas. They can be townhomes, duplexes, units in multi-story buildings, or even detached homes. Most condos are part of a homeowner association (HOA) that makes and enforces rules for its property.
Condo owners are primarily responsible for maintaining everything within their units. They also must pay mandatory membership fees for the upkeep of common areas and building maintenance costs. Because the HOA maintains common areas, condos typically don’t need as much upkeep as single-family homes.
Recent data from National Mortgage Professional lists the median price of an existing condo at 12% less than the single-family home’s median price. Lower-pricing can make condos a more affordable option for first-time homebuyers. Learn more about condo financing and how it differs from the mortgage loan process for single-family homes.