In a region that otherwise withstood the housing crisis, Prince George's County was the hardest hit. But the county's housing market is now improving, mirroring the experiences of its neighbors.

While the county retains the ignominious distinction of leading Maryland in foreclosures, other housing factors are looking up. The median sales price jumped more than 6 percent last year, from $160,000 in 2011 to $170,000 in 2012, according to RealEstate Business Intelligence. Houses spent an average of 88 days on the market in 2012, down from 102 the year before.

"People are getting about 95 percent of what they list the house for," said Eric Brown, director of the county's Department of Housing and Community Development. "If you factor into that how severely impacted the county was by foreclosures, it's a very positive change."

Brown added that the county was addressing foreclosures by targeting problematic neighborhoods, providing some residents with down payment assistance and providing financial counseling to those who need it.

Montgomery County, the District and Northern Virginia have all seen similar upward trends, with sales prices rising and time on the market dropping. Success may be most important to Prince George's, however, thanks to the steeper climb its facing.

"Between Montgomery and Prince George's, you have two counties that have had very different experiences," said Peter Tatian, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute's Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center. "Foreclosures create a lot of difficulties in terms of trying to get the market back."

- Matt Connolly