Want to see what it means that Loudoun is the fastest-growing county in the United States, as U.S. Census data show?
Just take a peek at the county's residential real estate market.
_____Map & Chart_____
Loudoun County: Details on Loudoun County's median home prices and total homes sold.
Sales of townhouses and single-family homes jumped 18 percent, and prices rose 22 percent, in Loudoun County from 2003 to 2004, according to a Washington Post analysis based on county records.
And real estate agents predict more of the same this year.
"I've love to give you a real complicated answer to explain all of this, but it's really quite simple," said Tom Jewell, owner of Carter Braxton Real Estate Co. in Leesburg. "It's all supply and demand."
With plenty of new jobs being created in Loudoun, and house hunters looking increasingly to Washington's western suburbs for lower-priced property, home sales in the county rose to 11,935 in 2004 from 10,121 in 2003 and 7,762 in 2002.
But in another sign that Loudoun is no longer the bargain spot it once was, the median sales price jumped to $420,000 in 2004 from $344,000 a year earlier.
That lifted prices in Loudoun ahead of neighboring Fairfax County, where the median home price was $415,000 last year.
South Riding, Zip code 20152, a community popular with families, had the biggest price jump in Loudoun last year, rising 28.8 percent to $484,900.
Other hot areas of Loudoun? Start with Ashburn's Zip code 20147, which had the most sales in the county for the fourth straight year.
The 2,063 sales -- in large communities such as Ashburn Village, Ashburn Farm and Belmont Country Club -- underscored Loudoun's appeal to young families.
"Ashburn is a sought-after area because it's got the community centers, it's got the sidewalks, it's got the schools -- you know, everything that a young couple with children would want," Jewell said.
The median house price in that Ashburn Zip code surged 27.7 percent, to $420,000, last year.
Even with a median price of $420,000, Loudoun houses are rarely on the market for more than a month, Jewell said.
"It's usually under 30 days, no matter what," he said. "If a house doesn't sell in 30 days it's usually because it's overpriced or it has some serious, serious problems."