Record home construction, a thriving house sales market and booming job growth--all of those mean that lots of people are on the move from place to place this summer. Even in slow years, summer is the busiest moving season, but this year the pace is becoming frantic. Here's a collection of facts, tips and glimpses at what's going on.

After you have finished reading, remember: Crumpled newspaper makes excellent packing material, but you should use it only on easy-to-clean items because the ink rubs off!

Newcomers Favor The Old Dominion

When someone says they're moving to Washington, usually they really mean they're moving to Virginia, according to a new study by the Greater Washington Research Center.

Using tax-return data, the research center analyzed location patterns for the more than 80,000 people who moved to the Washington area between the 1996 and 1997 tax-filing periods, the most recent information available. It found that 50.9 percent of those people moved to Virginia, 34.2 percent to Maryland and 14.9 percent to the District.

Fairfax County, the largest jurisdiction, got the most people, 19,256. Montgomery County followed with 12,898 and the District with 11,944.

But researchers also weighted the number of people moving to each jurisdiction according to its size, and found that some areas got more newcomers than their size warranted and others got fewer.

By that measure, Alexandria and Arlington are the most popular jurisdictions, with 63 percent and 61 percent more movers, respectively, than size would warrant, based on a ratio of the number of people who moved in vs. the number of people who filed tax returns. For example, based on its size, you would have expected 2,568 people to move to Alexandria during the year, but 4,186 actually did, or 63 percent more.

Loudoun County got 30 percent more; the District got 29 percent more. Other Virginia counties also got more than their share: Prince William (24 percent more), Stafford (17 percent more) and Fairfax (9 percent more).

"Perhaps most surprising is the District's performance," researcher Hans Kuttner wrote. "Although the District had passed its recent low point in government finances and municipal services, it was hardly perceived as on a sharp upswing in 1997. The amenities and features of the urban core apparently are valuable to attracting new people moving into the area."

Maryland jurisdictions, though, got fewer newcomers than would be expected. Montgomery County got 18 percent less than expected for its size. Prince George's County had the least drawing power, at 42 percent less than expected. Other Maryland counties also came in below expected levels, with Frederick at 29 percent below, Charles at 33 percent below and Calvert at 36 percent below.

The study also looked at jurisdiction-to-jurisdiction moves within the area, but not at moves within counties.

The biggest flow was from Arlington to Fairfax. But ranked relative to size, Arlington, Alexandria and Loudoun were the most popular. Stafford, Prince William and Prince George's counties also drew more of these movers than their population would warrant.