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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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“Banks Ramp Up Foreclosures”

That’s the headline from the Wall Street Journal’s lead story this morning. The article states that some of the nation’s largest mortgage companies are starting to proceed with foreclosures on homeowners who have showed no ability or initiative to rework the terms of their mortgages.

Some of these companies had declared moratoriums on foreclosures while the Obama administration fleshed out details of its housing-rescue plan. In the meantime the companies have reworked or refinanced millions of loans, but now they appear to be moving toward foreclosure for the hopeless ones.

These decisions could increase the number of homes on the market in the Fredericksburg area. In March there were enough sales and a small enough inventory to create a 7.8-month supply of homes in the area, the smallest in three years and close to the five-month supply that’s considered the sign of a healthy market.

Distress sales made up more than half of the sales, and given the banks’ decisions, that trend could continue. Still, it also could remove what Realtors call the "ghost inventory" — homes that aren’t on the market but are either vacant or not being paid for.

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