When Michael and Debbie Brosy began looking for a new bome in suburban Maryland, they knew they wanted a place where it would be "easy to hit the highways."
"We like to travel," say Brosy, a salesman for a cosmetic company. His wife, he explained wanted to live in an area which would permit her to commute easily each day from the suburbs to her job at the Hecht Co. in Washington.
The Brosys are like many young couples shopping for homes in suburban Maryland who list location as a priority as well as the quality of construction and price in their search for a new home.
The Brosys recently decided by buy a $58,000 home in Montgomery Village, a new community on the I-270 corridor in Gaithersburg.
"We also like the idea that living in a place like Montgomery Village means there'll be a lot of car pools because a lot of people will be going out to the District everyday," Brosy said, as he stood in the kitchen of a model two-floor single family home, where the decorating touches included plastic fruit on the table and straw flowers on top of the refrigerator.
Echoing the thoughts of many prospective homebuyers, Brosy said, "We really wanted a place where we could get away from it all. Out here, you're a short distance from D.C., but there's such a different - trees, lakes, country."
The Brosys made a 10 per cent down payment on their house. They expect the interest rate on their mortgage to fall between 8.75 and 9 per cent. The Brosys said they chose to have the financing arranged by Kettler Brothers, the developers of Montgomery Village, through a savings and loan association.
Most prospective home buyers use conventional financing, according to Charles V. Phillips Jr., vice president of Kettler Brothers and president of the Suburban Maryland Homebuilders Association.
Phillips said homes costing up to $55,000 usually require a 5 to 10 per cen down payment, while homes above that amount would require a down payment of 20 to 25 per cent.Interest rates, he said, usually vary between 8.5 and 9.25 per cent.
Because there are a number of military bases in suburban Maryland, a large percentage of home buyers, use Veterans Administration loans, Phillips said. The number of people using Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured loans, Phillips said, has decreased over the past four years because housing costs in the metropolitan area are exceptionally high while the amount that can be borrowed from FHA is low.
Many people shopping for homes said they want to buy in developments that offer residents recreational facilities and a package of services. They want their homes to be in places where, as one shopper said, "it's not quite city, not quite country."
Donna and Andrew Arenth, who live in a subdivision in Anne Arundel County, remember looking at homes in Annapolis and learning - much to their dismay - that they'd have to get in a car any time they wanted to take their two children to a recreational facility.
They began looking in Columbia, Md., the Howard County town with a lake and shopping mall, pools, tennis courts and skating rinks.
Warren and Mary Hammons recently bought a $75,000 four-bedroom home in Columbia after living many years in a Laurel subdivision. What attracted them to Columbia, they said, was "not having to travel 10 miles to get groceries."
Couples with small children said the quality of schools in the neighboring area is also major concorn.
Maurice and Jacquelina Hall have been renting a single-family house in Columbia for the past year and now want to buy a place of their own. One of their reasons for staying in Columbia is because Mrs. Hall "is sold on the schools out here."
Because so many young couples today have the financial means to purchase their own homes, the housing market in Maryland is on the upswing, realtors report.
Stanley and Candy Chen, for example, have lived in an apartment in Bethesda for the past year. Now the couple want to buy a house to gain the tax advantages that renters miss.
"Because we have no children and because of our two incomes, we are paying much too much income tax. It just isn't worth it," said Chen, who owns a restaurant in an office building in downtown Washington.
Location and price are their major concerns, the Chens said.
Tom and Jody Breaud had been paying $288 a month for a two-bedroom apartment in Gaithersburg. Then Breaud got tired of "piling up rent receipts" and decided it was time for the family to get a new home - and a tax break next year.
The Breauds were also spurred by the desire "to have a place of our own with a nice yard for our son to play in and easy access to shopping areas."
The surge of buying is not restricted to new homes - the resale market is also picking up, according to realtors. Jim Young of Medallion Real Estate in Bowie said the firm's sales are up 20 per cent this year over 1976.
"It's becoming a seller's market again - the seller can count on getting the price he wants," Young said.
The public's taste for colonia-style homes, he said, seems to be diminishing while Cape Cod homes and ranches are "being snapped up as fast as they come on the market."
Realtors said buyers appear to be more concerned about the type of heating system with which a home is equipped following last winter's fuel shortages.
Prospective buyers are increasingly interested in "how much will this house cost me in utilities," according to Marty Chewning, a salesman for Columbia Builders, Inc.
"People are aware that there's little gas available. They want to know about the materials that have gone into the house. They want to know whether the doors and wall are insulated," Chewning said. CAPTION: Pictures 1 and 2, Mr. and Mrs. Vich Zdenek and their son were among the young families looking at houses at Montgomery Village on a recent Saturday. Debbie and Michael Brosy have purchased a house in that Gaithersburg community for $58,000 and say they were attracted to the area partly because of its proximity to the 1-270 higway corridor. Realtors say location is the first criteria homebuyers establish and shoppers interviewed in suburban Maryland agree. The Brosys, who like to travel wanted to live in an area where it would be easy to commute to D.C. Other shoppers say their concern is a tax break., Photos by Ellisworth Davis - The Washington Post; Picture 3, Beth and John Giannone check out the interior of a model house in Montgomery Village, a Kettler Brothers development at Gaithersbury., By Ellsworth Davis - The Washington Post; Picture 4, Stanley and Candy Chen say they are shopping for a tax break.