Monday, June 6, 2011

Home Values up in County Despite National Trend

While housing prices nationwide fell to their lowest level since 2002, home values in the Washington region gained 4.3 percent in the last year, according to research from our Planning Department. In Montgomery County, median house prices also continued to rise.

That stands in contrast to the losses in housing prices experienced by all other regions, save a small gain in Seattle. According to the Standard and Poors Case-Shiller Index, national housing prices fell 4.2 percent in the first quarter of the year. House prices had started to rebound in 2009 and early 2010.

The D.C. region and Montgomery County continue to counter the trend. The most recent data for median sales prices in the county shows a price of $483,000 in 2010, a 5-percent increase over the median price of $460,000 in 2009.

While the housing index report indicates the strength of the local economy, it also exposes limited opportunities for homebuyers. Planners looking to provide a diverse set of housing options for Montgomery County’s newest residents say the high house prices here challenge moderate- and low-income would-be home buyers.

While the county has seen progress on improving the housing balance, current master planning efforts are looking at providing more opportunities for a range of unit sizes and tenure. For example, as White Flint builds out under the guidance of the recently approved White Flint Sector Plan, planners expect a balanced housing mix that will attract Gen X and Y as well as young couples and seniors looking to downsize.

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