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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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Bank mortgage lending picks up in Fredericksburg area

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More Fredericksburg-area residents used conventional bank loans to buy homes in July, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems data released Friday.

There were 121 conventional mortgage loans made for Fredericksburg-area home purchases in July. That was the highest since July 2008, before the collapse of Lehman Brothers ushered in a global credit crunch.

Traditional bank loans were used in about 32 percent of the sales last month through the Multiple Listing Service. That dropped below 20 percent during the peak of the crisis as bank lending dried up. Most people who bought homes in the region over the past few years used loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Traditional bank mortgage lending is still well below where it was during the housing boom, however. During the peak, bank loans were used in more than 80 percent of home purchases.

The housing market mostly held steady in July in the Fredericksburg area, which comprises the city and Caroline, King George, Stafford and Spotsylvania counties.

The median sales price was $229,000, up about 4 percent from this time last year. Prices have held steady for the past three months.

There were 375 homes sold through the MLS last month, about flat from July 2011. About one in five sales was a foreclosure. There is now about a four-month supply of homes on the market.

Homes spent about 70 days on the market before selling and went for about a 5 percent discount to list price on average.

Stafford’s housing market continued to outperform the rest of the region, which has led to many new subdivisions getting started there. Stafford accounted for about 42 percent of the region’s overall sales last month.

The median sales price last month in Stafford was about $280,000, the highest since July 2008 and up 14 percent year-over-year. Stafford homes sold for less than a 3 percent discount to list price on average. There is now less than a three-month supply of homes on the market in Stafford.

In general, localities that are closer to Washington have bounced back faster from the housing bust, and that appears to be the case in Stafford compared with the rest of the region.

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