Anne Arundel County housing price increases last year outstripped those the previous year and were among the sharpest in the region.
The median sale price for a home in the county rose 22.2 percent to $253,000 in 2004, from $207,000 the previous year, according to a Washington Post analysis based on state sales records for single-family houses and townhouses; condominiums are not included.
In contrast, the price of single-family houses and townhouses increased just 13.7 percent from 2002 to 2003.
"Job creation, especially in the Fort Meade area," has created a huge demand on housing, said Clark Kline, a vice president for Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. "Anne Arundel had 7,000 new jobs created last year."
Property in the northern and western parts of the county was just reassessed. Those are areas without much waterfront, but with easy access to Washington and Howard County, said Joseph V. Glorioso, the supervisor for assessments for Anne Arundel County. Assessments in Maryland are performed every three years.
"Residential properties were up an average of 54 percent in these areas," over three years, Glorioso said. "That is about 18 percent a year, which is pretty much in line with the rest of the county."
It's not just price appreciation causing the increases, he said. "There are bigger houses. Generally we're finding new houses are bigger and bigger."
Median prices for property closer to the Chesapeake Bay continued rising, too. In the two largest Annapolis Zip codes, 21401 and 21403, prices were up about 18 percent to $330,000 and $325,000, respectively.
The county's lowest-priced housing was in Zip code 21225 on the Baltimore border, which includes neighborhoods such as Brooklyn Park. The median sale price rose 27.5 percent to $117,950.
There was one Zip code in the county where the median price fell, but that was an oddity -- Zip code 21402 is almost entirely the U.S. Naval Academy, and there was one sale there last year, for $1.145 million.