- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 2, 2005

From a buyer’s perspective, there is no better place to shop for a home in the Washington region today than Prince George’s County.

Here are three reasons why:

• It borders the District, making the commute relatively easy.

• Despite that proximity, homes are far more affordable than in Montgomery and Arlington counties, which also border the District.

• Homes sold more slowly there in 2004 than they did in other area jurisdictions, putting less pressure on buyers.

Despite these advantages, or perhaps because of them, it isn’t easy to buy a home in Prince George’s County these days. Buyers face stiff competition from other home shoppers trying to buy one of a limited number of homes for sale.

This is a recent development for Prince George’s County. In the mid- to late 1990s, Prince George’s was the slowest, most depressed market in the region. Poor schools and high crime kept buyers away.

However, it has become extremely expensive to buy a home in the District and Arlington, Fairfax and Montgomery counties, which have always been among the most popular communities in the Washington area.

These areas remain popular, but buyers are flocking to Prince George’s County in such numbers that there aren’t enough homes on the market to meet the demand.

The ratio of inventory to sales is such that Prince George’s is one of the tightest markets in the region. Yet, for some reason, that level of competition hasn’t caused homes to sell quickly there.

The average time on the market in 2004 was 37 days in Prince George’s County. Compare this to a mere 18 days in Arlington and Alexandria, where the level of competition is similar.

The success of Prince George’s County in 2004 may have affected some nearby communities. Competition has decreased in the District, while time on the market has risen. This could be due to buyers seeking the affordable homes in Prince George’s instead of pricey Washington.

Contact Chris Sicks by e-mail (csicks@gmail.com).


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