Home prices, sales increase outside the Beltway

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – As home sales and prices gain strength inside the Beltway, new data shows the good news is spreading.

Ryan Price, a research associate for the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason, says September home sales and median home prices are gaining more steam outside the Beltway.

“We’re seeing the stronger growth migrate to the suburbs,” Price says.

Take Loudoun, Stafford and Prince William counties. Price says September home sales were up between 17 and 25 percent from September 2011.

Home prices are also very strong. Stafford County saw a 23 percent jump in median home prices last month. Prices went up nearly 14 percent in Prince William County, nearly 13 percent in Falls Church, nearly nine percent in Loudoun County and nearly seven percent in the City of Fairfax.

Price says jobs play a big role in the health of the market.

“Most of the job growth in the region does take place in Northern Virginia,” Price says, which is why he says the strengthening market there is unsurprising.

Some Maryland counties are also seeing growth, especially Montgomery County. Price says Montgomery County saw home sales increase by nearly 11 percent last month, while home median prices jumped by nearly 10 percent. Frederick County also saw median home prices jump by 7.8 percent.

However, counties that continue to be plagued with foreclosures are not faring as well. Charles County showed the biggest decline in the number of home sales compared to last year and saw a nearly seven percent drop in median home sales.

Prince George’s County also saw a drop in the number of home sales, but did see median home prices push 6 percent higher.

Overall, the housing market looks brighter than it did last year. Home prices in the region jumped from $315,000 last September to $339,000 last month – a 7.5 percent gain.

Ryan says home sales increased across the region by 6.5 percent. Washington, D.C. also continues to watch prices jump even higher. In September, they increased by nearly 10 percent. Ryan says the D.C. area saw the highest September median price in five years.

A table from the Center for Regional Analysis illustrates the difference over time for areas around the D.C. region. Selected September Median Prices:

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