Policy: Economy

Real estate markets in Prince George's County, PW County are on the mend

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Maryland,Virginia,Real Estate,Dean Bartoli Smith,Prince Georges County,Economy

Prince William and Prince George's counties, two Washington metro areas hard hit by foreclosures when the real estate bubble burst, are now on the mend.

"Prince William worked through their foreclosure inventory more quickly than Prince George's County," said Lisa Sturtevant of the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis. "Northern Virginia led the recovery and suburban Maryland is now catching up. Prince George's County has turned a corner this spring and is coming back."

Robyn Burdett of Re/Max allegiance said there is more "bang for your buck" in Prince William than in Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

"The price for a 2,400-square-foot home in Manassas is $425,000. That same house closer in is $600,000, Burdett said. "Buyers are much more interested now in going out a little further. We've got to have places that people can afford."

She said there are two distinct markets in Prince William. Houses for sale along I-66 in Gainesville and Manassas are going faster than those along the I-95 corridor in Dumfries, Dale City and Woodbridge.

"The market is not as responsive along Interstate 95, she said. "(People) don't want to do the traffic."

Buyers still find short sales in Prince William County but not many foreclosures, and home appraisals have been difficult, Burdett said, adding even though it is a seller's market, homeowners still need to spruce up their homes to get the value they want and a quick sale.

Prince George's County led the area in terms of price growth in May, reported Corey Hart of the Real Estate Business Intelligence Index. Bidding wars and low inventory issues affecting other part of the metro area now also are prevalent in the county. The median average price rose 18.8 percent, from $170,000 to $220,000, following a strong showing in April with a 10 percent increase. Closed sales also were up by 11 percent.

While Prince George's still lags behind the rest of the region because of foreclosures, things are looking up in neighborhoods such as Mount Rainier, University Park and Hyattsville.

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