Stories behind home sales tell of a meaningful history

by Dan Krell
© 2013

housing developmentIt’s entertaining and interesting to take a look at the unusual and extremes of the housing market during the year that just ended. Besides some of the notable sales of this past year, consider the least and most expensive single family homes that sold during 2012. The stories of these two homes go beyond recent sales and economic conditions; they tell a story of suburbanization and the growth Montgomery County.

One of the lowest priced single family homes that sold in Montgomery County during 2012 was a home located on Sigsbee Road in Silver Spring. The home, located in Veirs Mill Village, was listed in the MLS (Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc) by Real Home Services and Solutions, Inc. as a foreclosure and sold for $86,199. Veirs Mill Village, a community that seemed to have its share of foreclosures in recent years, was built as part of the post World War II housing boom.

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration’s “Suburbanization Historic Context and Survey Methodology” (, Veirs Mill Village was one of the largest post war housing developments built in Maryland. There was a housing shortage immediately after World War II, and a scramble ensued to build homes to accommodate returning veterans as well as the quickly growing Federal workforce. Because of the speediness of the construction, neighborhood aesthetics was not a priority; initially, there was little thought to community, commerce, or municipal services. Built to be affordable housing, the community initially attracted young families; the average age was stated to be 21. The completed development consisted of 1,105 four room bungalows, each with a 1948 price of $8,700.

Consider that at the height of the housing market in 2006, the average home sale price in Veirs Mill Village was $390,337 and ranged from $325,000 to $485,000. The average sale price during 2012 was $218,950. And although this home on Sigsbee Road was not expanded from its original 648 sf, it is not uncommon for neighborhood home owners to have expanded these homes over the years.

In contrast, one of the most expensive homes that sold in Montgomery County during 2012 is located on West Lenox Street in Chevy Chase. The 100 year old home sold for $7,050,000. The MLS listing stated that the home, listed by Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., was built in 1913 and was expanded and renovated in 2006.

real estateAccording to the “Suburbanization Historic Context and Survey Methodology,” the development of Chevy Chase began as part of the suburbanization of Montgomery County of the 1880’s. Although other Montgomery County developments at that time were priced for middle class civil servants (due in part to the Civil Service Act 1883) , Chevy Chase was developed to attract affluent home buyers. Chevy Chase expanded in the 1890’s when a rail line was built to encourage growth in a suburb that was considered inaccessible; and became an established affluent neighborhood when the economy flourished during the 1920’s housing boom.

The MLS listing and sale and sale price information is compiled from Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (; the information is not an opinion of value, nor should the information be misconstrued as an appraisal. Additional neighborhood suburbanization and historical information can be found on the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration’s website (

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This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice.  Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2013 Dan Krell.