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Prince George's County

By Krissah Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 23, 2005; Page H07

Home prices in Prince George's County rose more steeply than the average prices in the entire Washington region last year, besting even neighboring Montgomery County's price growth, according to a Washington Post analysis of local sales records.

Prices throughout the Washington region climbed an average of 17.6 percent last year, compared with a 20 percent increase in prices in Prince George's County.

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Prince George's County: Details on Prince George's County's median home prices and total homes sold.

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In 2003, home prices in Prince George's grew only 9.8 percent, more slowly than all other jurisdictions in the region. The Post analysis covered single-family houses and townhouses, but not condominiums.

The county, however, remains the most affordable jurisdiction in the region for homebuyers. The median sales price for a single-family house or townhouse rose to $222,000, up from $185,000 in 2003. In neighboring Montgomery County, prices rose 18.7 percent, to a median of $365,000.

Warren Jones, a real estate agent at Long & Foster in Bowie said that city continues to be a hot market.

Last year, the Zip codes where he works were among the most expensive in the county.

In Zip code 20721, which includes Bowie and Mitchellville, 400 homes sold last year for a median price of $306,5000. In Bowie's Zip codes 20715 and 20716, prices rose about 20 percent.

"I love Bowie. Most people call me from out of the area and say someone told me that Bowie is a great place to live," Jones said.

The most expensive Zip code in the county was Glenn Dale's 20769, where 91 homes sold for a median price of $325,000, up from $271,000 in 2003.

Price increases are being driven by the growing new-home market in the county's outer reaches, Jones said.

"There's a lot of construction going on. As long as that continues, the market below [the new construction] will continue to be strong," he said. "This is the year [to sell] if sellers are really looking to get their maximum appreciation out. I don't expect us to continue to keep these ongoing price increases."

Jones said he has already seen a slowing in the speed of sale for houses priced from $575,000 to $750,000, the county's upper range. They remain on the market for weeks, he said. Homes priced from $425,000 to $499,000 still sell within a week.

The neighborhoods inside the Capital Beltway tend to be the county's least expensive. For example, in Zip code 20743, which includes parts of Fairmont Heights, Capitol Heights and Seat Pleasant, 779 homes sold last year, at a median price of $145,000, up 11.6 percent from $129,900 in 2003.

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