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Apartment-hunting appealing to many page 2
Demand is high for rentals in the Fredericksburg region

 South Carolina-based Johnson Development Associates' latest apartment complex, near Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, won't be ready until June, but three units already are leased. There will be 260 units.
PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 3/24/2012

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In some cases, even homeowners are renting a second place. Cobblestone has a number of tenants who want to be near the train station so they can take VRE to their jobs in Northern Virginia or Washington during the week, then go home to such places as Chester or Virginia Beach on weekends, Marsh said.

For those who have lost their homes due to foreclosures or short sales, renting is often their only option. Others who haven't taken the plunge into homeownership may still be wary due to concerns about job security or are waiting to see if housing prices have hit bottom.

"Due to the impact of the economy, we're definitely seeing more people want to rent," said Cheryl Saunders, an associate broker and property manager at Johnson & Glazebrook.

She said that demand for rentals was especially strong this past winter, which is typically a slow time. Recently, there were just 250 properties listed in the Metropolitan Realtor Information System for Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Orange, Spotsylvania and Stafford.

As a result, Saunders said that over the past few months the landlords she works with have been raising rates as much as 10 percent as they renew leases.

"If owners don't want to rock the boat, [the increase is] zero," she said. "It's up to the individual landowners."

The Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the city of Fredericksburg and counties of Stafford and Spotsylvania, already has the highest fair market rent in the state. That's the amount of money a property would rent or lease for if it were available at this time.

Rent ranges from $1,328 for a one-bedroom to $2,542 for a four-bedroom, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition's new report, Out of Reach 2012: American's Forgotten Housing Crisis. Locally, prices for a one-bedroom at Cobblestone range from $1,010 to $1,225, and will be about $1,300 at The Haven.

Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407
Email: cjett@freelancestar.com


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