Jamie Smith Hopkins of The (Baltimore) Sun used data on home sales to find "clear signs that proximity to D.C. is driving the boom in Baltimore and its five surrounding counties, over and above what extraordinarily low mortgage interest rates have achieved nationwide. This region's fastest appreciation came in Howard, Anne Arundel and Carroll counties, which border the traditional edge of Washington's reach. Prices there jumped 75 percent combined during the past five years - compared with 41 percent nationally. Together, the average price in those counties rose to about $340,000 last year." The paper included a searchable database of area home sales from 1999 to 2004 and several charts detailing the growth in home prices.