Many people dream of living in a comfortable home with lots of land in a clean, rural environment. Yet these homes tend to be away from the very things people often seek in life: good jobs, shopping and entertainment and recreational activities; all of these things can be found in the Annapolis, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. metropolitan areas. But it is in neighboring Anne Arundel County, Maryland where residents enjoy the scenic beauty one expects in a rural area. This, in addition to the proximity of Chesapeake Bay, makes the West River area real estate desirable for prospective home buyers.
Considered part of the Western Shore, Anne Arundel County is quite different from the more populated Eastern Shore. While mostly rural, Anne Arundel County’s population density is higher than the national average. Yet unlike urban areas, the population is mostly homeowners with only around 10% of people renting spreading population density evenly throughout the county instead of concentrating it in large blocks of apartments.
The main roads in this area include State Route 2 and 468 making travel to Annapolis and Baltimore easy. Getting to Washington D.C. is quite close and easy as well via the Washington Beltway and the Baltimore Beltway. This makes the area such an attraction for those needing to commute. The location also allows for quick access to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and from there to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. There are few transit options as almost all travel (77%) is done by car. However, carpooling is heavily promoted and accounts for up to 11% of trips within the area. Commute times average around 38 minutes.
The Anne Arundel County Public School District (AACPS) serves the area with Shady Side Elementary School, Deale Elementary School, Southern Middle School and Southern High. Southern High is a recognized Blue Ribbon School (the nation’s highest education award) and received the Maryland Blue Ribbon Award. On average, AACPS spends 7% more per student than the national average. While this part of Maryland lacks any colleges, the neighboring metro areas have some of the finest in the country such as John Hopkins University, St. Mary’s Seminary & University and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Galesville on the West River
Resting at the conflux of Smith and South Creeks flowing into West River, Galesville’s history is tied to water. It was the terminus for the southern leg of the Baltimore to Annapolis steamship line carrying mail and passengers. This village once supported a thriving community of Chesapeake Bay watermen, but now focuses on yachting and other water recreational activities.
Galesville history does not stop with sailing and fishing. It was the site of the first Quaker community in Maryland. Galesville also has many registered national historic sites such as Tulip Hill, Galesville Heritage House and Museum, and Captain Avery Museum.
Much like the rest of West River area real estate, Galesville real estate is almost entirely made up of home-owners. The median house price is $457,700 with the average house age being 20.9 years. The 7.6% vacancy and decline in home values due to the recent housing market correction makes buying a home in this area an attractive investment given the projected 33% future job growth.
As has always been the case in Galesville, the main recreation is boating. The two largest businesses catering to this are the Hartge Yacht Harbor and the West River Yacht Harbor. Both sites are conveniently located to the town’s two major eateries, Thursday’s Restaurant and The Inn at Pirate’s Cove.
The West River area is made up of scenic, forested rolling hills along State Route 468. In almost all cases, West River area’s real estate and demographics are identical to that of Galesville. The area’s woodlands provide not only natural beauty but also protection from the summer humidity. West River is the site of two historically registered homes of Sudley and Evergreen.
Harwood on the West River
Farther up along State Route 2 is the village of Harwood. Like West River, Harwood is zoned rural and agricultural with its real estate predominantly made up of single-family homes. With a population of 3,784, Harwood boasts many historically registered homes such as Richland, Oakwood, Mary’s Mount, and Parkhurst.
Harwood area real estate has higher home prices due to the larger plots relative to either Galesville or West River leading to the higher median home price of $575,000. The average house age is 25.8, which is far below the national average of age of 35.1 years.