The Future Homemakers of America recently moved its headquarters to Association Drive in Reston. The 30,000-square-foot building was designed by the architectural firm of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum. The FHA was formerly located at Dupont Circle.

Also in Reston, Automata Inc., a manufacturer of custom-printed circuit boards, has moved into its new 54,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing plant on Sunset Hills Road.

Automata Inc. was founded in 1976 by Mohamed El-Ezaby, who is president of the company. Its sales for the first year were $1.5 million. Fiscal 1981 sales were about $8 million.

El-Ezaby said he expects the company's payroll to increase by about 40 employes.

Other developments in local commercial real estate:

* The Montgomery County Housing Commission said it recently purchased the Hewitt Gardens and Hewitt Gardens North apartments and then leased them to the Hewitt Gardens Limited Partnership in an attempt to preserve the properties as rental units.

The new owners are obligated to retain the buildings as rental properties for 20 years and to rent 20 percent of the units under the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 8 rental assistance program. The commission said the assistance will go to 28 renters already living in the complexes. Some rehabilitation of the units is also required under terms of the contract.

The commission said this is the first time it has purchased a building and resold it for "rental preservation."

* Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond recently dedicated a new 62,000-square-foot center for the performing arts. The building contains a 508-seat concert hall, a 256-seat drama theater, an electronic music studio, practice studios, offices and classrooms.

The building was designed by architects Hayes, Seay, Mattern and Mattern of Roanoke and The Architects Collaborative Inc. of Cambridge, Mass. The two firms also designed the university's pharmacology teaching facility, which is under construction on the Medical College of Virginia campus.

* C.G. Estabrook Inc., an electrical contractor located in Arlington, announced plans to move to a new 10,000-square-foot facility in the Burger Industrial Park near Dulles International Airport.

* Electronic Instrument Technologies has expanded its operations in the Sterling Industrial Park into an additional 3,000 square feet of space in the TAD Technical Building. The new space will be occupied by the company's electronic assembly and testing operations, which will employ 15 people.

* Circle K Industries plans to move its precision machine and tool fabrication business to a 9,000-square-foot facility near Dulles International Airport by January 1983. The building, which is being financed by industrial revenue bonds authorized by the Loudoun County Industrial Development Authority, is located on 1.5 acres in the Prospect Industrial Park on Acacia Lane. The company said it will almost double the size of its operation when it completes the move from the Shade Shop Building, also in Loudoun County.