- - Thursday, August 9, 2012

Because the Washington region has enjoyed relatively low unemployment, the country’s economic woes have not hit our real estate market as hard as other metropolitan areas.

We also have emerged from the housing slump ahead of much of the country, so much so that home prices actually are rising in many area jurisdictions.

That’s a result of a sharply reduced supply of unsold homes and increased demand among home shoppers. That’s basic economics — more demand and less supply equals higher prices.

Today’s charts provide 2005 median sales prices as a benchmark. That was the last year of the real estate boom that pushed prices so high.

You’ll also find 2008 data in the charts. That was the year prices hit bottom in much of Virginia.

Maryland prices took longer to fall. As you can see, every Maryland county had lower sales prices in 2010 than in 2008.

But while that was happening in Maryland, prices were climbing back up in parts of Virginia because buyer competition returned earlier there. One reason was the steep drop in prices Virginia experienced in 2008, which stirred buyer interest in the following years.

Things are picking up in Maryland now, too. You can see prices have risen since 2010 in Montgomery, Howard, Frederick and Anne Arundel counties and Baltimore.

Of course, you need to remember that June’s data is not as reliable as the annual data represented by the other three bars. Home-price data for a single month is susceptible to fluctuations caused by the sale of a few very expensive or very inexpensive homes.

Also, home prices usually rise most during the more active spring market. Many of the spring sales went to settlement in June, so today’s data represents some of the most hotly contested sales of the year. That’s why we might see monthly price statistics drop a bit as the year goes on.

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