HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — It’s a sign of these pandemic times. The real estate market has surged with home values up about 25 percent.

In Washington County, Maryland alone over the past month sales of homes have surged 15%. The homebuying craze is so, well, crazy, that collectively home values have swelled nationwide by $1 trillion over the past year. It all has to do with changing lifestyles from the pandemic. Washington County, Maryland Realtor Cathy Wantz sees it first-hand.

“So they want to work from home and they want a really nice live-work space and a place for their children,” says Wantz, “because due to Covid they had to work from home and the children had to be educated from home.”

Wantz sees it everywhere she turns. A quarter-million-dollar home purchased just a few years ago has already doubled. And buyers are very particular in this economy about what they want.

“And now the parents also wanted a nice big backyard and they’re getting all of them here in Washington County,” Wantz explains.

Indeed, the market around Hagerstown is among the hottest in all of Maryland, drawing buyers from the Washington, DC suburbs. As a matter of fact, Montgomery County leads the state in home sales according to the latest data. And for those just starting out, the Hagerstown Neighborhood Partnership has HUD-backed programs to help first-time home buyers.

“It is the best time in 30 some years to buy,” says Wantz. “And interest rates are at three percent.”

And Wantz advises buyers to be sure their credit scores are solid when they submit an offer. Most homes for sale in this market turn over in about 10 days to 2 weeks. And in Washington County, the latest figures show an average home sales price has jumped from $256,000 to $291,000 in just the month of July.