much time in your car,” Fair weather says.
In 2005, 46 homes in Potomac sold for
more than $2 million each, says Galanti,
including 16 that went for more than $3
million. Those $2 million-and-up homes
sold within an average of 112 days. In
2018, according to Galanti, only 24 sold
for more than $2 million, and only seven
for more than $3 million.
“The average time on the market for a
house in Potomac priced above $2 mil-
lion in 2018 was 214 days, a 100 percent
jump compared to 2005,” he says.
Agents cite numerous examples of
Potomac homeowners who sold their
homes for much less than what they
paid for them, including a home in Avenel that sold for $4.5 million in 2006 and
recently was purchased for $2.85 million,
even though the departing owners had
spent $500,000 on landscaping and the
installation of a swimming pool.
Potomac’s housing market also is
a victim of the changing preferences
of younger buyers, according to Marc
Fleisher, head of The Fleisher Group with
TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. “Fif-
teen years ago, people said that places like
Avenel were a great place to raise kids,
had a strong sense of community and had
value because you could get more land
for your money,” he says. “Now that the
original owners are empty nesters and
want to sell, the next generation that
would naturally buy there would rather
be close to downtown Bethesda or D.C.”
Fleisher says many of his affluent clients have kids who attend public and private schools in Montgomery County and
the District, so they want to live in a middle ground where the commute to these
schools is easier and shorter.
...Except Where It’s Not
Despite the crash of the higher-end
market, overall home sales in Potomac
were up in 2018. In the 20854 ZIP code,
which includes Potomac and small parts
of Rockville, 538 homes sold in 2018, a 15
percent increase over 468 sales in 2014.
During the same period, the average sale
price declined slightly to $1.08 million,
largely the result of the slumping values
of upper-end homes.
The reason for the dichotomy in
Potomac is straightforward: The dramatic
increase in prices inside the Beltway has
forced homebuyers who want to spend
less than $1 million to buy in the suburbs.
In Potomac, properties priced in the
range of $600,000 to $800,000 are desir-
able, says Annabel Burch-Murton, a
Compass agent. “In neighborhoods like
Regency Estates, sales were up 123 per-
cent between 2017 and 2018,” she says.
“With housing affordability plummeting, many buyers have been pushed further out into the burbs, benefiting communities like Potomac and Gaithersburg,
which saw year-over-year increases,
while the closer-in and more expensive
communities all saw a year-over-year
falloff in sales,” Wydler says.
In the 20878 ZIP code, which covers Gaithersburg west of I- 270, including North Potomac, home sales and the
average sale price reached five-year highs
Buyers’ Preferences Are Changing
Today’s consumers want newer homes
with open floor plans and a modern look,
which means that unrenovated older
homes tend to sit on the market longer
unless they are priced low enough to
appeal to buyers, agents say. Sellers need
to decide if they’re willing to drop the
price or spend money to renovate before
putting their homes on the market.
“Buyers’ expectations have changed,” P H
Sales of larger homes in Potomac have
dropped in recent years as buyers seek
locations with shorter commutes and other