Recently signed into law in Virginia was legislation that will provide relief, under specified circumstances, to persons suffering financial losses as the result of improper or dishonest conduct in real estate transactions-by licensed realty brokers or sales agents. Remunerations will come from a real estate transaction fund that the Virginia Real Estate Commission will be empowered to set up by assessments of active licensees of not more than $10 each during a two-year period. Michael C. Fox, president of the Northern Virginia Board of Realtors, said the NVBR had been urging this consumer protection for five years. "Many persons in Northern Virginia are unaware that we are the only salespersons in the state of whom any bond is required. This is certainly a good move to protect consumers under conditions in which no bond is required in many Virginia counties," added Fox.

Relative to the recently announced intention of the H. L. Rust Co., whose history dates back to 1889, to sell its now aged building at the northeast corner of 15th and K streets NW as a part of an assemblage for a new office building, it was pointed out by Lloyd B. Wilson Jr., chairman of the board, that the firm earlier was at the southwest corner of the same intersection. In April the Rust real estate office will be moved to the International Club Building at 1800 K St. NW. "Our decision was influenced by faith in the future development of the downtown area and in those who guide that future development," said Wilson. "Further, our young generation of executives opted for downtown, where we feel our employees will benefit from the Metro system."

In the wake of last week's review of the office building market here, Thornton W. (Tod) Owen Jr., president and counsel of Thomas J. Owen & Son., Inc., appraisers, said (at the opening of the new J.F. Begg realty office at 5101 Wisconsin Ave. NW) that he considers the "primary" downtown office market to be within the area bounded by 17th Street, New Hampshire Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue and N Street. He spearheaded a study of the office market, which showed in early 1976 that the overbuilding in 1975 (4.7 million square feet) would be absorbed well in 1976 and 1977 and that the local market for prime locations would remain strong throughout 1977. His report was also the first to conclude, as reported here a year ago, that "it was deemed reasonable to conclude that the average annual demand for new office space in the District is 1.9 to 2.2 million square feet."

The National Geographic, Society is aware that many Americans have been saving its old editions in atties for future research or rainyday reading. But even the NGS now admits in a press release that the magazines are turkeys as insulation material. With some urging from the Geographic, engineers of the National Association of Home Builders, which maintains a research lab in Rockville, calculated that the magazine are too solid to be good insulation and rate only about R-0.25, on a scale in which R-30 is tops. "Put another way," NGS reported, "to provide attic insulation equal to 3 1/2 inches of fiberglass batting (R-11), a homeowner would have to pile up National Geographics 47 magazines deep. And that would amount to a ceiling threat of about 91 pounds a square foot."

General Development Corp., which is building seven communities in Florida, reacted to a recent Associated Press story that pointed out that, despite federal expenditure of $260 million since 1970, seven of the 13 new towns getting U.S. aid have encountered financial troubles. Ken Knight of General Development put it this way: "While the AP report was obviously accurate, I hope readers do not infer that all builders of planned communities are tottering on the brink of bankruptcy. General Development earned $8.6 million in 1976 on revenues of $91.5 million. Not a penny of the income was derived from government handouts." In this area, the big privately developed new towns of Reston and Columbia have been staying alive during the recent tough spell and are now doing better. And so has St. Charles, which has had the benefit of HUD financial backing.

Two great "talk" personalities have teamed up in the Homes for Living campaign. In this case it's Steve Allen, who will do commercials for the home resale network headed by Arlingtonian George Shafran, who met Allen recently and held his ground with the show biz talk pro.