Charles Town gallops off in to the distance in 2015

Jefferson County real estate sales numbers are all over the board. There’s a 47 point difference between our best and worst performing towns. That’s a shockingly large difference for a 12 miles down the road, intra-county comparison.

Charles Town is enjoying a great year – Total dollars of real estate sold is up 20%. 19% more houses have sold. Average house prices are up 1.5%.Charles Town

Meanwhile Shepherdstown is suffering a terrible year - Down 27% in dollars of real estate sold. Down 18% in the number of houses sold. Average home prices are down 11%.

The rest of the county is up and down too, but not by such startling numbers. Harpers Ferry (up 4%) and Kearneysville (up 8%) are enjoying positive years while Ranson (down 10%) is struggling a little along with Shepherdstown.

When you net it all out, Jefferson County is having a moderately good year. Up 3.3%.

What is causing Shepherdstown’s year to be so different to Charles Town’s? Geographically, this whole county is basically the same right?

The obvious difference is Charles Town’s ability to sell more inventory because the population is larger. 2013 said Charles Town had about 5,500 people while Shepherdstown had 2,150 or so. However, Charles Town’s 171 houses sold versus Shepherdstown’s 61 mean that the population gap isn’t the only thing going for it.

Other things that would slow Shepherdstown, comparatively speaking, is that their average home price is about $50,000 over the county average house price ($241,500) at $292,000. Charles Town’s average price is only $15,000 above the county average at $256,000. Though if buyers were price based buyers only, Ranson (near $60,000 below average), Harpers Ferry and Kearneysville (near $20,000 below average) would be having amazing years.

So what else can it be? Well, from what we are seeing and hearing Charles Town is proving itself to be the most convenient location. It is that simple.

It has a variety of housing options, it has townhouses, it has developments, it has charming tree lined streets, it has farms, all of which are minutes away from a selection of grocery shopping and dining options. It is also the first town you get to if you’re contemplating coming from Loudoun or Clarke Counties in Virginia or Frederick County Maryland which is where a lot of people are coming from because Jefferson County offers the same standards of living for a fraction of the cost.

Presuming the real estate market follows its year over year upward trends, it will be interesting to see how Jefferson County continues to shape itself out.