Housing prices in Calvert County rose more slowly last year than in most of the region.
County-wide, the median home sale price rose 16.5 percent, to $237,450, from $203,800 the previous year, according to a Washington Post analysis based on state sales records of 1,478 single-family houses and townhouses. Condominiums were not included.
Calvert County: Details on Calvert County's median home prices.
The least expensive Zip code in the county in 2004 was 20657, Lusby, where 558 homes sold at a median price of $193,000, up 19.88 percent. Lusby offers the most affordable housing in the county because land prices are lower and it is the farthest from Washington, said Carl Beatty, a real estate agent with O'Brien Realty in Huntingtown.
Lusby also offers an easy commute via the Thomas Johnson Bridge across the Patuxent River to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, which is one of the largest employers in Southern Maryland. "The schools are much, much better in Calvert than in St. Mary's," the county where the naval air station is located, Beatty said.
The middle and northern parts of the county are home to more people who commute to Washington for work, which is reflected in higher land values, Beatty said. Median prices in those areas rose: Owings, Zip code 20736, up 33.6 percent to $367,500; Prince Frederick, Zip code 20678, up 17.6 percent to $268,000, and Huntingtown, Zip code 20639, up 26.7 percent to $380,000.
Assessments, which are done on a three-year cycle in Maryland, were just finished for the northern part of the county.
"The values increased an average of 50 percent," said Susan J. Kopanke, supervisor of assessments for Calvert County. "It was our largest increase that we've seen probably in 12 years."
In Dunkirk in the north -- Calvert's most expensive Zip code, 20754 -- the median price was $419,000, with 69 houses sold. That was up 23.4 percent from $339,500 for 71 houses sold in 2003.
There were three Zip codes where prices fell, but all of them had a relatively few sales. For instance, in tiny Broomes Island, the median price fell 44 percent to $227,000, but that was just a statistical quirk, because only six houses changed hands.
The median also fell in two other rural Zip codes: Dowell, Zip code 20629, where 13 houses sold at a median price of $225,000, down 18.2 percent, and Port Republic, Zip code 20676, where there were 30 sales at a median price of $227,785, down 10.7 percent.