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Fairfax County was the bride last year, but will the locality’s real-estate status be reduced to bridesmaid for 2021?

Having recorded the most home sales in the Mid-Atlantic region in 2020, Fairfax has returned to its more traditional spot of No. 2, behind Philadelphia, in the ranking compiled by RealEstate Business Intelligence, based on data from MarketStats by ShowingTime.

For the first two months of the year, Fairfax had recorded 2,023 residential transactions, up 23 percent from year before. But Philadelphia held a healthy lead with 2,452 sales, up about 11 percent from a year ago.

Last year, Philadelphia led the home-sales race among the roughly 70 jurisdiction covered in the RealEstate Business Intelligence ranking – until, that is, Pennsylvania imposed more draconian lockdown restrictions in the wake of the COVID pandemic, and when some potential buyers shied away from urban areas like the City of Brotherly love for suburban, exurban and rural options.

When the dust settled on Dec. 31, Fairfax County had reported a total of 16,739 homes going to contract during the year, up 3.7 percent from 2019, while Philadelphia’s total of 16,317 was down 2 percent from 2019’s total.

But with COVID restrictions easing to various degrees everywhere, and the real-estate market showing resiliency, it appears Philly could return to the summit in 2021, with Fairfax second.

Who else might crack the top 10 for the year? For the January-February period, at least, the best-selling markets after Philadelphia and Fairfax were Montgomery County (Md.), 878; Prince George’s County, 846; Baltimore County, 749; the city of Baltimore, 740; the District of Columbia, 731; Anne Arundel County, 690; Montgomery County (Pa.), 605; and Camden County (N.J.), 484.

For the Mid-Atlantic region in its entirety, home sales for the first two months of the year stood at 38,521, up from 32,949 at the same period a year before.

Figures represent most, but not all, homes on the market. All figures are preliminary, and are subject to change.

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