Names will be drawn from a hat, in effect, later this summer to determine which Fairfax County families will have an opportunity to buy new townhouses at reduced prices.

The random drawing, sponsored by the county Redevelopment and Housing Authority, will be held Aug. 1. The twelve families selected through the drawing will be able to buy new townhouses under a new housing program developed by Fairfax County.

"It's an opportunity for families who earn moderate incomes to compete for housing in this affluent county where it's hard to find," said Deirdre Coyne, spokeswoman for the Development of Housing and Community Development, which carries out day-to-day operations of the Housing Authority. "It's a very limited offering, though, so a drawing seemed the only fair way to choose the people who would be eligible."

The families chosen in the drawing will be able to buy three-bedroom townhouses in the Newington Forest development on Pohick Road in Springfield for $46,277.

A spokesman for Newington Forest builders, Ryan Homes Inc., said the townhouses would go for a "few thousand more" on the open market, but would not give a definitive sales price.

The families will be required to have a down payment of only $1,200 on the townhouses, with monthly payments ranging from $390, depending on income.

The first mortgage on the townhouses will be held by the Federal Housing Authority or the Virginia Housing Development Authority and will range from about $37,000 to $43,000. Interest rates on the mortgage are expected to run betwen 7 and 7 1/2 percent. The Fairfax RHA will hold the second mortgage, and both mortgages will run concurrently for 30 years, according to the housing authority.

If the family remains in the townhouses after the first mortgage is paid off or choses to sell back to the Rdevelopment and Housing Authority, they will not be responsible for paying off the second mortgage, that would cover the remainder of the $46,277 cost of the home, Coyne said.

However, if the family choses to sell on the open market, the family would have to pay the second mortgage, she said.

"This way we are assured the townhouse will remain available for moderate income families," Coyne said.

Families eligible for the drawing must have between three and five members and incomes ranging from $13,275 to $22,700, depending on the family size. They must work or live in Fairfax County and currently rent their homes. Families applying for the program must have their applications, available through the Department of Housing and Community Development, postmarked no later than midnight, July 9.

The Newington Forest townhouses are the second group of homes offered by the county under its moderate-income, direct-sales program. The county sold 10 townhouses in Burke Manor last year for $44,500 each.