- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2007

Households with members age 55 and older have a choice of housing not available to those with young families: an active adult community.

While similar to planned communities with recreational amenities, a mix of housing and perhaps a retail component, active adult communities offer one big difference: They are age-restricted. Children and grandchildren are welcome visitors to these communities, but they are not allowed to become full-time residents.

In addition to the age restriction, active adult communities always include a floor plan with the master suite on the same level as the kitchen and living areas, a design that is easier for older people no matter how active they are.

In some cases, this can be a one-level condominium in a high rise, while other designs are rambler or villa-style homes. Others offer a second level or sometimes a basement level for additional living space, but they still maintain a first-floor master bedroom suite.

Active adult communities vary in price range and amenities just as multi-age planned communities do. A range of these developments can be found in Prince William and Loudoun counties in Northern Virginia, two of the top 10 most affluent counties in the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau records.

For active adult buyers interested in golf, Comstock Homebuilding Cos. Inc. is building condominiums in three five-story brick buildings at Beacon Park, part of the Belmont Bay planned community in Woodbridge.

Beacon Park, adjacent to Ospreys Golf Club, also has views of the Potomac and Occoquan rivers.

In addition to golf, residents can enjoy walking trails and easy access to fitness, swimming and boating facilities. The condominium buildings each have a controlled-access parking garage, an elevator and a rooftop terrace. The homes have 10-foot ceilings and from one to three bedrooms.

Buyers may choose between a study and a master suite with a loft and a wet bar. Sales have not yet begun on these homes and prices and condominium fees have not been set. The homes are base-priced from $329,900, with the largest home, a three-bedroom, three-bath residence with almost 2,400 square feet, priced from $799,900.

Monthly condominium fees average $300 to $375 and rise to $500 for the largest home.

Call 703/491-2600 or visit www.comstockhomes.com.

Brookfield Homes Corp. is developing both the active adult community of Dunbarton and the surrounding Braemar community between Haymarket and Manassas. The Dunbarton Club overlooking Broad Run has an indoor pool and spa, a fitness center, game and meeting rooms, a business center, and a parlor.

The landscaped grounds of the club provide tennis courts, a putting green, boccie and shuffleboard courts, and hiking and biking trails. Dunbarton also will organize numerous social events, and residents will be members of the Braemar association.

Single-family homes are base-priced from the mid-$300,000s to the mid-$400,000s. They feature two or three bedrooms, two baths, a two-car garage, 9-foot ceilings on the main level, a center-island kitchen, a family room with a fireplace, a separate living and dining area, and a master bath.

Homeowner association fees are $245 per month.

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