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Despite tight inventory, area Realtors agree market is improving

After years of depressed prices, Realtors said this week the real estate market in King George appears to be on the road to recovery. Although inventory is tight, sales have increased and prices are stabilizing, according to a number of area brokers and agents. Westmoreland County is recovering more slowly except for Colonial Beach where a good sales year is forecast.

“This is the first year, in many years, where the market is beginning to feel normal,” said Chip Taylor, a broker with Century 21 Battlefield. “Buyer hesitancy has been replaced by buyer enthusiasm to secure a good home while the prices and, in particular interest rates, remain at historic lows.”

“This is the first year, in many years, where the market is beginning to feel normal.”
—Chip Taylor,

broker,Century 21 Battlefield


The prices in Colonial Beach are the best I have seen since the 80’s.
—Bob Swink,  owner

Colonial Beach Real Estate



Cris Curtis, an agent with Century 21 New Millennium in Maryland, said Virginia’s market is recovering faster than Maryland. Curtis, who is handling sales for the Brookhaven Estates development in Dahlgren, said she is moving a number of her potential Maryland customers across the Potomac River.

“In Virginia they can get more for their money,” Curtis said. Taxes are one third less than they are in Maryland, closing costs are less.” According to Curtis there are 65 pending sales in King George as of this week. “That’s a lot and that’s really good.”

Bob Swink, owner of Colonial Beach Real Estate, said real estate sales in Colonial Beach are finally on the increase as well. “The prices in Colonial Beach are the best I have seen since the 80s,” Swink said. “Our office is averaging a 20 percent increase in sales over the same period last year.”

“There are opportunities to buy a home in the Colonial Beach area within everyone’s price range,” said Swink. “There is an inventory of 106 homes on the market under $200,000 today. You can actually purchase a new home with three bedrooms, two baths, turnkey ready to move in for as little as $154,000.”

Richard Snow, an owner/ broker with EXIT Realty Expertise, said Westmoreland County as a whole is a different story. “Any regional change in market conditions tends to begin in the population centers. The wave eventually rolls out to the suburbs and then eventually to the truly rural areas,” he said.

“It hasn’t hit Westmoreland quite yet, where inventory is still quite high and prices have not improved over last year,” Snow said. “Demand in King George is stable and greater than the supply. The King George inventory is shallow and asking prices are noticeably increasing.”

The average time a home is on the market in King George is down by 43 percent to 60 days. But inventory in King George remains low. “Selection is the lowest it’s been in years,” said Taylor, “as evidenced by the fact that new home construction is definitely on the rise.”

Taylor said, “I expect the housing inventory to remain tight throughout the remainder of the year. Buyers will increasingly be turning to new home construction in order to fill their families’ needs.” Taylor said builders are aggressively seeking building lots to keep up with the demand.

“The distressed market is on the decline,” Taylor said. “As of May 13, there were only 128 homes for sale in King George and only nine percent of those listings were distressed sales such as foreclosures, bank owned and short sales.”

In King George, Snow said, “there is increased activity in the larger $400,000 homes, although the ceiling is still under $500,000. Lot sales have improved, a sign that builders are writing contracts.” “Things are definitely moving up in King George,” said Curtis.

  Richard Leggitt

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