Where life is splashed with fun; In friendly Broadneck, even a 'fixer-upper' can cost you $400,000


After an exhausting day working at the Annapolis office of Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc., Sally Branning goes home to her Bay Hill townhouse in Broadneck, swaps her briefcase for an oar and heads to the Severn River.

It's there that she meets the rest of her crew team in the Annapolis Rowing Club for practice.

"I just started this summer," said Branning, who moved into her 2,200-square-foot townhouse in August. "There were just a lot of people I knew who were doing it, so I thought I would give it a shot."

Branning's love for water and sports are just two of the reasons the 53-year-old moved to the Broadneck peninsula nine years ago.

"I was originally from the East Coast, before moving out West for 16 years with my family," she said. "When my ex-husband was transferred, we were told we could move anywhere on the East Coast as long as it was near an airport. I knew the schools were good in Broadneck and it was near the water, which solidified our decision."

Broadneck, in eastern Anne Arundel County, is bounded by the Severn River to the southwest and the Magothy River to the northeast. The peninsula stretches from College Parkway south to the Naval Academy. It also stretches east to the Bay Bridge.

"Many people come to Broadneck because of its water-privilege homes," said Paula Thayer, a Realtor for Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.'s downtown Annapolis office.

"There are a lot of opportunities for community activities, recreational sports and boating," Thayer said.

The peninsula is minutes away from Annapolis, and is just 30 minutes from downtown Baltimore and Washington. Thayer said that makes it the ideal compromise for dual-income families who work in both cities.

Branning, with her husband and two daughters, first moved into a three-level contemporary in Atlantis, a development west of Cape St. Claire. The 2,200-square-foot home overlooks Deep Creek and has a deck on each level.

"We're not city people, and after living in the [San Francisco] Bay area for so long, you become used to the outdoors," Branning said.

"There is so much to do here. You can go biking, sailing and rowing without having to go too far."

Broadneck's large area makes for a wide range of home prices, from $120,000 to just under $1 million. Often the price is not based on the home's size but its proximity to water. Along with the Severn and the Magothy, Deep Creek, Whitehall Creek, Mill Creek and the Little Magothy River surround Broadneck.

Thayer said a home with water privileges can cost three to four times as much as a similar home not on the water.

"I've seen homes that I consider 'little fixer-uppers' along the water go for $400,000," she said. "The people then tear those homes down and build new ones worth $800,000. The same house, if it was across the street, but away from the water, might only sell for $200,000."

One Broadneck community that has experienced a large amount of growth is Cape St. Claire. The community, once filled with bungalows, has been remade since public sewers and plumbing were added in the early 1980s. Cape St. Claire is also attractive to people looking for a waterfront home, because the community offers three beaches and a boat ramp.

"Cape St. Claire offers one of the premier water views in Anne Arundel County," Thayer said. "We have seen homes go as high as $790,000. But there are also some split-foyers and ranchers for around $140,000."

John Gough, president of the Cape St. Claire Improvement Association, said the changes are very noticeable.

"I've lived here since 1973, and when I came here Cape St. Claire was by itself," Gough said. "Bay Hill wasn't here, and College Parkway was a rural area."

On the other side of U.S. 50 is St. Margaret's. While Cape St. Claire is better suited for owners of smaller boats along Deep Creek, St. Margaret's offers more room for larger boats along Whitehall Creek. It is also less developed than the Cape.

"St. Margaret's is more of a rural area, but the land is more valuable there," Thayer said.

Those in Broadneck who don't live on the water still have plenty of recreational options. The peninsula is home to several parks in the area, including Sandy Point State Park, which has a public boat ramp. Since 1984, Sandy Point State Park has been the starting point for the 4.4-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim -- a charity event in which participants swim to the Eastern Shore.

"You are never more than 10 minutes away from a park or some recreational site when you live in Broadneck," Thayer said. "Whether it's Sandy Point, Cape St. Claire Park or Broadneck Park, there is always something to do."

Cathy Flynn knows how much there is to do in Broadneck. Having lived on the peninsula for 18 years, she has seen her two daughters get involved in all types of recreational sports from lacrosse to tennis. Flynn and her husband, Jim, have remained in the area all these years, despite both working in Baltimore.

"Good schools. Good rec sports. Good quality of life. That's why we stay here," Cathy Flynn said.

The Flynns, like Branning, moved into a Bay Hills townhouse recently. Although their children are college-age, they didn't want to sever their ties and move from the community.

"A lot of our children grew up together playing soccer, and many of the parents became friends," Cathy Flynn said. "Even today, with all of our kids grown up, we still get together and we communicate with each other."


ZIP codes: 21012, 21401

Commuting time to downtown Baltimore: 40 minutes

Public schools: Windsor Farm Elementary, Cape St. Claire Elementary, Broadneck Elementary, Belvedere Elementary, Arnold Elementary, Magothy River Middle, Severn River Middle, Broadneck High.

Shopping: Cape St. Claire Shopping Center, Bay Hills Shopping Center, Annapolis Mall, Arnold Station Shopping Center

Homes on the market: 110

Average listing price: $199,722

Average sales price: $195,075

Average days on market: 101

Sales price as a percentage of listing: 97.6 percent

Based on 469 sales in the last 12 months as recorded by the Metropolitan Regional Information System.

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