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December 2, 2010

Where BRAC migrants are moving

Most of the people moving to Aberdeen Proving Ground for BRAC are settling in Harford County, with Cecil County the second most popular destination.

That's according to a report from the Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor, which has data for 2,400 workers whose jobs had transferred by September for the military base realignment and closure effort.

These are employees, mostly civilian, with C4ISR, the Army team of organizations that had been headquartered at Fort Monmouth, N.J.

ZIP code with the most BRAC folks: 21015, Bel Air. More than 350 are living there, with an additional 225 in Bel Air's 21014 ZIP. Havre de Grace, north of the base, is another popular spot.

Here's the breakdown by county:

1. Harford County, 60 percent

2. Cecil County, 18 percent

3. New Castle County, Del., 7 percent

4. Baltimore County, just over 5 percent

5. Baltimore City, 2.5 percent

6. Chester County, Pa., 2 percent

That's nearly everyone, but about 100 more are in other counties (in Maryland and elsewhere).

The city, which has actively worked to attract BRAC movers, has landed about 60 to do the reverse commute. More than half are in and around downtown, notes the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, which forwarded me this report.

So those are the early movers. We'll see if the rest follow the tracks forged by the pioneers.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (18)
Categories: BRAC



Is there any data for the BRAC stuff happening at FT Meade? Just curious.

I've looked in Harford county and the zip codes mentioned have near bubble peak asking prices.

Those Harford County people are going to get hammered on the re-sale prices, compared to people who moved closer ot the city. Exurban is a really bad play right now, unless it's truly high-end stuff like in parts of Howard County. There is simply *too much* low- and middle-level housing in exurban areas. Younger buyers, on the whole, aren't looking for this stuff and when it becomes a little run-down, it's going to get interesting.

This is a good example of some people thinking we're only going through a "cycle", where real estate will go back to what it was. Well,values will eventually go up, but not equally for everyone and with so much buildable land and so few good jobs up in Harford for young, educated folks, not a good play. These buyers just want to be close to their jobs, which is good, but I hope they don't play to sell when they retire. They're buying for the present.

Or maybe the Harford housing market didn't have as far to fall relative to Howard? Perhaps folks in Harford were better at adjusting their expectations?

According to MLS data, the median list price in Columbia in October 2010 was actually up 0.1 percent over October 2009, to $309K, with median sale up 5 percent over the same period to $315K.

In Bel Air, the median list in Oct. 2010 was $295K, DOWN from 6.4 percent from '09. The median sale was $285K, UP nearly 30%.

Clearly Chappy10 has no clue as to what type of employment is available in Harford county when compared to housing prices and other aspects of the standard of living.

As for prices being near bubble prices; don't know what zip codes Darwin Rules is looking at, but from what I've seen prices within 20 miles of APG are down by between 15 and 25 percent.

Finally, the smartest buy has less to do with the price of a house and a lot to do with the quality of life, which is greatly impacted by an individual's daily commute. It appears that Darwin is looking at only the investment aspect of housing and that's the mistake that was made by individuals buying during the last bubble.

P.S. you also have to compare the cost of living between Fort Monmouth, N.J and APG, Maryland. The cost of living in and around APG is lower than Fort Monmouth, N.J. Also, where is all this buildable land located? Surely it's not in the northeast B/C this metro area is getting pretty crowded.

All these people moving into Harford and no plans to fix the roads to APG. If anyone can find a more glaring example of local government stupidity, I would be very interested to see it. When the county's biggest employer only has two 2-lane roads leading to it, glittering with traffic lights, it's easy to understand why local politicians are regarded as buffoons.


With that kind of population density, maybe the county should look into more public transportation. The "quick and dirty" solution may be buses while the county considers the possiblities.

It's no surprise that the majority of BRAC people moved to Harford, but's astonishing to me is the fact that Cecil was second and not Balto. Co. Even Delaware beat Balto. Co. That's strange, since one has to deal with Wilmington area traffic and be forced to cross the river and pay a toll. (I know the US 40 bridge has some one time cost, but still, not convenient.)

You'd think Perry Hall/White Marsh area would be attractive as my friend's mother wound up doing.

These folk are moving from NJ. Maybe some have personal reasons to locate close to NJ.

Mike B, I haven't seen anything similar for the Fort Meade area yet. (If there is and I missed it, folks, please let me know.)

And Mike, that does seem to be the answer -- that New Jersey folks are in some cases choosing to settle between Aberdeen and New Jersey, rather than farther south. Less distance to travel if you've got N.J. family.

Hi Jamie,

I have a relative who bought a house in Perry Hall for what I thought was a bubble price of way over 300K in the mid 2000's.

I have been keeping an eye on home prices in the area, and Mcmansions are still selling like hot potatoes there. I see recent sales on zillow between 400 and 700K.

I'm surprised.

Based on my unscientific visual poll, prices in Perry Hall etc have continued to INCREASE. oO

Good news for owners who may have been worried about their property values.

The homes I see selling for high prices tend to be large, 4+ bedrooms and 3+ baths. I'm jealous.

In my own area, I've noticed that the prices for Mcmansions have remained pretty high as well. I live in Reisterstown, and while I personally value my acreage over a large house, new buyers are more willing to shell out big bucks for extra bedrooms and baths even if the lot is just 1/4 acre.

It looks like the new buyers seem to think that 100K per bedroom is a good bet. For instance, regardless of lot size, I see 3 brs selling for about 300K, 4brs sell for about 400K etc.

I actually like McMansions, but a big house on a big lot was out of my price range. Living in a large house is expensive, but if you can afford it..go for it!

I hope the transfers enjoy their new homes.

Juanita, you are wrong. Homes in Perry Hall have fallen the steepest in Baltimore County. "McMansions that were selling for 700k are now going for under 500k. Townhomes that were going for 350k to 400k are now going for 250k. Condos that were going for 225k are now going for 170k.

Good news!

over the past few years ive heard various friends tell me that BRAC migrants would revitalise Baltimore City. Many local politicians claimed the same thing.

But i dont see why any of them thought that way. I would have predicted 10% at most. But 2.5% is pathetic.

I dont blame the migrants. Im not anti-Baltimore. Ive lived here for 17 years. And i love it. But we should be honest with ourselves ,and ask the hard questions of why none of the BRAC migrants want to live in the City.

Here we have thousands of migrants moving into the area .And here we have thousands of vacant houses that are generally in good structual shape, but need rehabbing.

If there ever was a time to bring back a version of the Dollar House Program, this would be it.

For too long Baltimore City has expected BRAC to save it.Sadly, these statictics prove that this isnt going to happen.We need to realise that "Empowerment Zones" ,BRAC ,and other Federal programs , are not going to save Baltimore

NuttyBar, compared to prices about 5 years ago, prices in the area for large homes have continued to increase.

Maybe they fell from the nosebleed levels that many prices reached for a few seconds in 2008 or so, but over time the prices seem to have increased in my opinion. 375 K to 450K for the similar house? Looks like an increase to me.

BTW I also as a consumer have noticed that prices for many items I buy seem to be going up, even though economists claim there's no inflation.

Pete from highlandtown, I'm on Baltimore Housing's mailing list. Don't ask how. I just got an email saying the vacant house disposal site is up and running. Maybe the cheapness of the houses will be incentive to some of the more adventurous BraCCers.

Let's be glad Baltimore got ANY of the immigrants. Better than nothing. At any rate, as a landlady, I have seen TONS of people moving to Baltimore City this year from California, Florida etc.

Again, just unscientific data that I've noticed. I think MD and Baltimore are in pretty good shape (knock on wood) compared to a lot of areas in the country. Also, a few of my tenants apparently liked the city so much, they recently bought houses there.

But as you know, safety is still a big issue in Baltimore. But hopefully the cheap houses will trigger some more um...repatriation of the criminal element.

The desire to maintain proximity to relationships in NJ sounds like the best answer to the Cecil and New Castle, DE fractions.

But I wouldn't disparage Baltimore City too much. Yes, the TPTB overblew BRAC's effect on the City just to get federal dough, but really the City didn't get snubbed too badly when you compare it to Balto. Co. Those newcomers clearly wanted to stay close to their ties in NJ. I don't see an anti-Balto. City behavior here.

Comments regarding Harford County real estate prices are misleading. Very nice homes are selling at 20-30% below "bubble." The recent downward re-assessment of homes confirms this.

harford county is not designed for BRAC... there is NO ROOM nor the residents DO NOT WANT two lane highways running through their neighborhoods... like glen burnie... we don't want harford county to be another glen burnie... most of these C4ISR jobs will disappear and vaporize in the next 2 -3 years and so will all the cyber BS at fort meade... the nation is unable to sustain all the phony BS pseudo-technology that purports itself to be legitimate engineering and R&D... not only is it unsustainable, most of it is unnecessary. therefore, when it can't be paid for... it goes away.

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
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