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Which Maryland Cities Have the Most Basements?

Do you know which parts of Maryland are more likely to have homes with basements? This real estate data reveals trends in basement construction and foundation types.

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Some parts of Maryland rarely have homes with basements, and in other parts, basements are much more common. These regional construction practices are largely due to the local environment including soil conditions, weather patterns, flooding, and winter temperatures.

Below, we’ll break down which cities in Maryland have the most basements and what’s influencing basement construction design in the state.

What Percent of Maryland Homes Have Basements?

Aggregate data on basements is not easy to come by. Construction practices and building inventories are often tracked at the local level. However, real estate data can help us get insight into regional home design trends. 

Using Zillow’s data on recently sold homes, we’re able to identify which Maryland cities have the most basements and which have the fewest. This analysis is limited to single-family homes with finished or unfinished basements. To get the most accurate results, we used county-level data so the number of transactions was a large enough sample size. 

The three places in Maryland with the most basements are Hartford County, Baltimore, and Montgomery County, outside of Washington, D.C. About 33 to 35 percent of homes in these areas have basements. 

By contrast, the places in Maryland with the fewest basements on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Only about two to five percent of homes in Talbot County and Wicomico County have basements. 

CountyPercent of Homes with Basements
Montgomery County (Gaithersburg/Takoma Park)35%
Harford County (Aberdeen)35%
Baltimore County and City33%
Frederick County (Frederick)31%
Carroll County (Westminster)31%
Anne Arundel County (Annapolis)26%
Washington County (Hagerstown)24%
Cecil County (Elkton)22%
Allegany County (Cumberland)18%
Prince George’s County (College Park)17%
Talbot County (Easton)5%
Wicomico County (Salisbury)2%

Why Are Basements More Common In Some Areas?

Building a home with a basement foundation requires a more intensive digging process, and these homes are generally more expensive to build than those with a concrete slab foundation. However, cost is only one of the reasons that homes do or do not have basements. 

In general, there are more basements in areas where the ground freezes. Having the foundation below the frost line gives the home stability. In general, you’ll see more homes with basements in northern cities and higher altitudes where the weather is colder.

However, in other locations, there are fewer basements in areas that have water risks, such as flooding. This is why there are so few homes with basements in the marshy areas to the east of the Chesapeake Bay. These areas are known for flooding, and coastal erosion in Maryland could cause some counties to lose more than 200 yards of shore, making them more vulnerable to tides and storm surges. Consider that you need to dig down at least eight feet to build basements, but the water table could be just a few feet below the surface of the soil. 

Both water and freezing soil can take their toll on the structure of a house, and homes with all types of foundations can show signs of foundation damage. If the soil below a house is starting to shift in response to flooding or cold winters, you could start to see wall cracks, uneven floors, stuck windows, or nail pops. 

Foundation damage can cause homes to lose up to 30 percent of their market value, and making repairs quickly can help you restore your home and strengthen the structure. If you’re concerned about your basement or foundation, sign up for a free inspection from the experts at JES.

What’s the Future of Basement Design?

The pandemic has created a surge of interest in homes with basements. The multipurpose spaces are being used to fill a variety of needs including home offices, gyms, and fan caves for watching the game. 

A 2020 report from Homes.com said that basements are a trending feature among homebuyers. As housing design begins to reshape itself in response to the new needs of homebuyers, we expect to see more basements in new home construction. There is also an ongoing surge of homeowners who are refinishing their basements and using basement waterproofing techniques to transform a damp or musty space into a room that’s as comfortable as the rest of the house. 

Get a free inspection from JES to find out how basement waterproofing or foundation repair can transform your home.