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Short sales abound in area housing market

By Bill Freehling

The Fredericksburg-area housing market has one of the highest percentages of short sales in the mid- Atlantic region, according to a recent report.

Fredericksburg and Caroline, Spotsylvania and King George counties all have short-sale rates that rank among the 10 highest of the 45 localities analyzed in the report by RealEstate Business Intelligence and the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.

Short sales have been used in about one in five housing sales in those four localities this year, according to the report. By comparison, in Arlington County just 3.2 percent of year-to-date housing sales have been short sales. Prince George’s County, Md., has the highest short-sale rate this year of the 45 localities at about 29 percent of overall sales.

A short sale occurs when the lender agrees to allow the house to be sold for less than the balance on the mortgage. The process involved in completing a short sale is often lengthy and frustrating for all involved.

In addition, about a third of the housing sales in Caroline County thus far in 2012 have been foreclosures, according to the report. That was the fourth-highest foreclosure percentage of the 45 localities examined. Orange and Culpeper counties also had foreclosure rates among the 10-highest in the region so far this year.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405