Housing Outlook 2006
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Sales of houses in Laytonsville and other parts of outer Montgomery County helped make 2005 another booming real estate year for the county.
Last year, the median sale price for a single-family house or townhouse in the county was $435,000, up 20 percent from 2004, according to a Washington Post analysis of government records.
A few areas in the county saw significantly larger gains. For example, in the 20882 Zip code, which includes Laytonsville, the median sale price was $629,000, up 41 percent from the previous year.
In the 20841 Zip code, which includes Boyds, the median sale price was $660,000, up 68 percent from the year before.
"The outlying areas are starting to play catch up," said Dan Ercolani, acting supervisor for the county in the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
Real estate agents who work in the area attributed much of those gains to the construction of new, high-end houses. Move-up buyers, many of them families with children, are ratcheting up demand in places such as Boyds and Laytonsville as they search for bigger homes without having to move further out into Frederick County, the agents said.
Responding to the demand, builders have put up $800,000 Colonials in an area where $350,000 ramblers used to be the norm, said Klaus Breitsameter, a 15-year veteran real estate agent who works with Re/Max Realty in Gaithersburg.
"It's just because of new construction -- that's why the prices have gone up so dramatically," he said.
As prices throughout the region soared, much of the sales activity in Montgomery County was in three Zip codes with relatively low housing prices. Nearly 4,000 homes were sold in those three Zip codes, accounting for roughly a quarter of the transactions in the county. About 14,300 houses or townhouses were sold in the county last year, down 12 percent from 2004.
In the 20874 Zip code, which is part of Germantown, the median sale price was $336,625, up 25 percent.
In the 20906 Zip code, which includes parts of Wheaton and Silver Spring, homes sold for a median price of $383,200, up 18 percent.
And in Zip Code 20878, part of Gaithersburg, the median sale price of a home was $499,450, up 19 percent.
Condominium sales were analyzed separately. In Montgomery County, condos continued to sell briskly. About 3,100 units were sold in 2005, about the same as the year before. The median sale price of condos was $250,000, up 35 percent.