- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2006

The median sales price of homes sold in Alexandria and the counties of Fairfax and Arlington set records in 2005, and those records still stand. What has changed is the pace of sales in Northern Virginia.

Just one year ago, these three jurisdictions were some of the busiest markets around. Sales chances were 104 to 118 percent. Only Prince George’s County posted higher sales chance figures in May 2005, at 131 percent.

Sales chances in Fairfax County were only 18 percent this May, while chances in Maryland counties in our area held steady above 20 percent.

Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax are not in the tank, by any means. Their location and easy access to the District make them very popular with home buyers.

That popularity meant that home prices rose dramatically from 2000-2005. By the end of 2005 buyers began to balk at paying so much for a home.

Looking for more affordable places to buy, buyers this year have turned toward Maryland.

As a result, Prince George’s, Charles and Montgomery counties — even the city of Baltimore —had much higher sales chances than Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax in May.

Plus, homes are selling much faster in Maryland. Today, the fastest-selling jurisdictions in the region are Prince George’s, Howard, Montgomery and Baltimore counties.

Finally, that popularity is pushing up home prices in Maryland faster than in Virginia. In May, the jurisdictions in our region with the smallest (or negative) rise in home prices were Loudoun, Fairfax and Arlington counties — three of the most expensive communities in the region.

What were the jurisdictions with the highest increase in value in May? By now you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was the three jurisdictions with the region’s most affordable homes: Prince George’s and Baltimore counties and Baltimore city.

Contact Chris Sicks by e-mail ([email protected]gmail.com).

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