Prince George’s and Prince William counties were two of the hardest-hit areas in the D.C. metro region when the housing downturn struck. A wave of foreclosures caused home values to plummet in those two counties, and prices have been slow to rebound.
But after watching prices in the surrounding areas take off the past year, Prince George’s and Prince William finally appear to be catching up.
Prince George’s showed the second-largest year-over-year increase in median sale price last month among all jurisdictions, according to July data from RealEstate Business Intelligence, with Prince William just behind its Maryland neighbor.
The median sale price for Prince George’s
William last month was $206,750, up from $173,000 in July 2012. The 19.5 percent year-over-year increase was the biggest for the county in the past nine months. Only Falls Church City had a larger percentage increase in median sale price (23.5 percent) in the metro area; however, that percentage was based on just 21 sales in July 2013 and 20 sales in July 2012.
The median sale price in Prince George’s is now at its highest level since the end of 2009. Prince William’s median sale price went up 17.3 percent last month to $324,900. The median sale price for the entire D.C. metro region rose 10.4 percent to $425,000, its highest level for the month since 2005.
“Eighteen months ago, if you told me we’d be having this conversation, I would have said, ‘Put down whatever you are drinking,’” said John Lesniewski, president of the Prince George’s County Association of Realtors and broker-owner of ReMax United Real Estate in Upper Marlboro. “It’s really happened really rapidly.”
Lesniewski said pent-up demand is contributing to the rise in prices. Also, because prices fell so low in Prince George’s, they have farther to rebound, unlike areas that weren’t hit as hard.
Prince William showed the largest year-to-date growth in median sales price among all jurisdictions in the D.C. metro region; Prince George’s was a close second.
“We’re the closest to D.C. where you can actually find some affordable housing,” said Beverly Frowen, president of the Prince William Association of Realtors. “We have a lot of people who look here because we are cheaper.”
The year-to-date median sale price for homes in Prince William rose to $310,000 last month, up from $270,000 in July 2012, a 14.8 percent increase. The Prince George’s year-to-date median sale price increased to $189,000 in July, from $165,000 in July 2012, a 14.5 percent increase. Falls Church City (10.4 percent) and the District (11.6 percent) were the only other two areas to show double-digit year-to-date increases in the area.
The year-to-date median sale price for homes in the region as a whole grew to $400,000 last month, a 9.6 percent increase from July 2012.
“A lot of people were hit very hard during [the downturn]. so our recovery, although it’s starting, it’s still limping a little bit,” Frowen said. “We’re not out of the woods yet. But it’s a lot better than it was.”
The typical summer slowdown in the area’s housing market was reflected in July’s numbers. Fewer homes were sold last month compared with June; median sales price dipped month-over-month; fewer sales were pending; and fewer properties went on the market.
On the bright side, the numbers were stronger compared with July 2012. More homes sold last month compared with a year ago; more sales were pending; and more homes were listed for sale. However, active listings continue to decline year-over-year, down 13 percent compared with July 2012 and down 36.5 percent compared with the five-year average for July. The median days-on-market for the region shrank to 12 days in July, the fewest days for that month since 2005.
[Correction: An earlier version of this story had the median sale price for Prince William increasing to $206,750 from $173,000 in July 2012. It should have said Prince George’s.]