Condominium properties such as this one, located in an active-adult community in Avon, are attracting large numbers of homebuyers to communities in Hartford County.

Mowing lawns and cleaning gutters isn’t for everyone, and lately in suburban Hartford County, it’s been for fewer people than ever.

Baby boomers and young homebuyers alike have been flocking to easy-to-maintain condominiums over the past year, driving up prices and sales in many of Hartford’s suburbs. The median price of condos in Hartford County rose almost 13 percent, from $124,000 in 2003 to $139,950 in 2004, according to statistics from The Warren Group, parent company of The Commercial Record. That kind of increase was only seen in one other Connecticut county: Fairfield County’s median condo price rose by about 15 percent from 2003 to 2004.

“Really, it outpaced the single-family market,” said P.J. Louis, regional sales manager for William Raveis Real Estate’s Avon and Simsbury offices.

Indeed, single-family home sales showed a lower growth rate from 2003 to 2004, with an increase of about 12 percent.

Empty nesters have long flocked to condos because they don’t need a big, single-family home anymore and don’t want to deal with exterior maintenance. But some real estate agents have noticed a shift in pattern, with younger buyers looking for homes where the outside maintenance is taken care of so they have more time for other activities, according to Barry Rosa, Prudential Connecticut’s vice president and new homes and land director.

Those younger buyers are also attracted to condos for a more obvious reason. In almost any Connecticut community, the price of a condo is about half the price of a single-family home, Rosa said.

“What you’re seeing there is people who can get into the communities without paying the high price,” he said. “Condos represent a good alternative.”

But baby boomers are still driving the market, according to Louis.

“I think a lot of that has to do with demographics,” he said.

Older boomers are downsizing into condos, whether they be in active-adult communities or traditional condominium communities, while younger boomers who still have children in the house are buying the bigger, single-family homes the older boomers put up for sale, resulting in a lot of turnover in the market.

Those baby boomers will continue to have a big effect on the housing market for the next 20 years, Louis said, and their demand for condos has resulted in construction all over Hartford County.

“I think the condo market will still be a growing market,” he said.

There is still a lack of affordable and age-restricted condos in Hartford County, Louis said. There is a lot of new construction in Windsor, where condo prices rose 127 percent from 2003 to 2004 – the second-highest increase in the state, and probably the most significant, with 136 sales in 2004 and 82 in 2003. The 2003 median price for condos in Windsor was $100,000. In 2004, the median price was $227,250.

Canton is also experiencing a lot of new construction in the condo market, Rosa said, which has pushed up prices there by 72 percent. In 2003, the median price for a condo was $130,000, based on 68 sales. In 2004, it was $223,000, based on 91 sales.

New condos have been popular and have pushed up prices in towns like Windsor, Canton and Windsor Locks, Rosa said. New single-family homes are not always within the price range of homebuyers, so a new condo is a good alternative.

“You’re getting people looking for new [properties],” Rosa said. “There are many, many buyers that want that chance.”

There are one or two new developments in virtually every Hartford County community, Louis said.

“It seems like there is a lot of building going on,” he said. “I think there’s still a need.”

Prices also rose substantially for condos in suburbs that already had a big condo base, such as Rocky Hill and Plainville.