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Fewer homes for sale in the local region
The number of homes actively listed for sale in the Fredericksburg area fell to its lowest point since June 2005 last month, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems data released Thursday.
There were 1,326 homes for sale through the Multiple Listing Service at the end of December. With 290 houses sold through the MLS that month, there was about a 4.6-month supply of homes.
Any ratio under five months is considered a healthy balance between supply and demand. The low inventory of existing homes could bode well for builders.
The median sales price in the Fredericksburg area last month, $211,500, was about flat from December 2011. Homes spent about 70 days on the market before selling on average, and sold for about a 6 percent discount to the list price.
The Fredericksburg area comprises the city and Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties.
Silver stops mining on land in Caroline
The Silver Cos. stopped mining and transporting sand and gravel from a 1,209-acre property off U.S. 17 in Caroline after county officials told them to do so this past fall.
Silver had been taking the materials to a site next to the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center where the company is constructing a memory care facility, said company executive Jud Honaker.
Silver didn't have a permit for the mining on its property near Moss Neck Manor and Fort A.P. Hill, and Caroline officials verbally told the company to stop. Silver complied with the verbal order, and no written notice was issued.
Silver is now working on an application that would allow Waldorf, Md.-based Chaney Enterprises to mine sand and gravel on a portion of the property. Silver also wants to build a small, high-end resort on the property that could be used for corporate retreats.
Marlin & Ray's brand shut down by parent
Ruby Tuesday Inc. has decided to immediately close all of its 13 Marlin & Ray's seafood restaurants, the company announced Wednesday.
A Marlin & Ray's restaurant opened this past May in the former Ruby Tuesday location in Doc Stone Commons in Stafford County.
"While this was a difficult decision to make, we have determined the Marlin & Ray's brand is not an optimal conversion vehicle for us going forward," the company said in an earnings release.
Noodles & Co. closes in Cosner's Corner
The Noodles & Co. restaurant in Spotsylvania County's Cosner's Corner shopping center closed late last month.
The Noodles & Co. in Fredericksburg's Central Park shopping center remains open.
Wawa site in Stafford sold for $4.25 million
The property that holds a Wawa gas station and store at 105 Garrisonville Road in North Stafford recently sold for $4.25 million, according to a news release from commercial real estate broker CBRE.
An LLC affiliated with the Rosner Auto Group, which has a Toyota dealership next to the Wawa, sold the property to a Philadelphia-based investor called Provco Stafford LLC.
Wawa has 10 years left on a 20-year lease of the property.
CBRE brokers Joe Graham, Rich McDaniel and Patrick McCabe brokered the deal.
IRS filing season will begin on Jan. 30
Following the January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act, the Internal Revenue Service plans to open the 2013 filing season and begin processing individual income tax returns on Jan, 30. The IRS will begin accepting tax returns on that date after updating forms and completing programming and testing of its processing systems. This will reflect the bulk of the late tax law changes enacted Jan. 2. The announcement means that the vast majority of tax filers--more than 120 million households--should be able to start filing tax returns starting Jan 30.
The IRS estimates that remaining households will be able to start filing in late February or into March because of the need for more extensive form and processing systems changes. This group includes people claiming residential energy credits, depreciation of property or general business credits.
--Beverly & Bucker Inc.
Benefits applications up slightly last week
WASHINGTON--Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits ticked up slightly last week, the latest sign of slow but consistent gains in the job market.
The Labor Department said Thursday that applications rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 371,000, the most in five weeks. The previous week's total was revised lower.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 6,750 to 365,750, after falling to a four-year low the previous week.
Supervalu will sell five grocery chains
NEW YORK--Supervalu Inc. says it reached a deal to sell five of its biggest grocery chains--Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's and Star Market--for $100 million in cash plus more than $3 billion in debt. The sale to AB Acquisition, an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management, will include 877 stores. Following the sale, Supervalu will consist of a food wholesaler, Save-A-Lot, and regional chains Cub, Farm Fresh, Shoppers, Shop 'n Save and Hornbacher's.
New lending rules
WASHINGTON--Federal regulators for the first time are laying out rules aimed at ensuring that mortgage borrowers can afford to repay the loans they take out.
The rules being unveiled Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau impose a range of obligations and restrictions on lenders, including bans on the risky "interest-only" and "no documentation" loans that helped inflate the housing bubble.
Lenders will be required to verify and inspect borrowers' financial records. The rules discourage them from saddling borrowers with total debt payments totaling more than 43 percent of the person's annual income. That includes existing debts like credit cards and student loans.
Stocks post gains
NEW YORK--Stocks closed higher on Wall Street Thursday, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 index to another five-year high.
The S&P 500 closed at 1,472 Thursday, its highest point since December 2007. Its gain on the day was 11 points, or 0.8 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed with a gain of 80 points at 13,471. The Nasdaq composite gained nearly 16 points to 3,121.
Rising stocks outnumbered falling ones two to one on the New York Stock Exchange.