HOUSING CONSTRUCTION in the Washington area rose 16 percent in the first six months of the year from the same period a year ago, according to McGraw-Hill's F. W. Dodge reports. The 20,868 units built here between January and June made Washington the fourth-most-active housing market in the nation, Dodge reported.

Housing construction across the nation was up 13 percent from 1983, the report said.

Phoenix was the busiest market, with 30,905 units for the six months, followed by Dallas with 27,443 (a 16 percent decline from 1983) and Atlanta with 24,267.

The biggest loser in the top 10 was Houston, where construction declined 45 percent. But even at that, Houston had 19,881 units, placing it just behind Washington.

B. F. SAUL CO. is planning a $250 million office, hotel and retailing complex to be known as the Town Centre Galleria on a 100-acre site in Overland Park, Kan., an attorney representing the firm said.

Larry Winn III, a lawyer for Saul, said the developer wants to build a 600-room hotel, 1.5 million square feet of office space, 400,000 feet of retailing space and a 45,000-square-foot cultural center over the next 11 years.

Winn said if the city approves the project by the end of this year, construction would begin in late 1985. The first phase would include the 20-story hotel, two of five planned office buildings and the cultural center.

He said Saul has not yet sought city approval of the project and is proceeding slowly "because it's a big project for people, neighbors and city officials to digest.

"We want to spend whatever time it takes to make sure this is something everybody wants," Winn said.

He said buildings and parking would occupy 53 of the 100 acres, with the rest planned as park space. He said the company has owned the land for 10 years and submitted another development plan about two years ago, but then decided to throw that out and start over from scratch.

PERSONNEL FILE . . . The National Corporation for Housing Partnerships has promoted Fred A. Skaggs to executive vice president-finance. He had been senior vice president and will continue as treasurer. Matthew B. Slepin, formerly of the Cooperative League, has joined the corporation as associate director for retirement housing . . . Equity Fund Group has named Philip V. Jackmauh its general counsel . . . Congressional Mortgage Corp. has appointed Paul B. Conway Jr. vice president and director of secondary marketing . . . KMS Group Inc. has named Patricia A. Baker director of finance . . . Larry Lambertsen will head Shannon & Luchs' newly created marketing research department . . . Long & Foster Realtors has appointed Audrey Hagedorn vice president/sales manager; the firm also has named Michael D. Redding sales manager in its College Park branch . . . Charles E. Smith Management Inc. has broadened the responsibilities of two senior vice presidents: Michael T. Shehadi is taking over supervision of the commercial and residential management departments and the mechanical department; and Gerald E. Burg will take over supervision of the firm's affiliated companies and the management company's day-to-day operations.

ON THE MOVE . . . The 500-acre Keswick Country Club in Charlottesville has been sold to a Houston developer who will turn it into a residential community with some commercial and retail sites. The clubhouse and golf course will be renovated and preserved. The price was not announced, but the property had been advertised at $1.95 million . . . Potomac Housing Corp. has bought 30 acres in Germantown from Porten-Sullivan Corp. Potomac plans 220 town houses on the site, which is at Great Seneca Highway and Clopper Road . . . The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin is moving to 6110 Executive Blvd. in Rockville, where it has leased 3,400 square feet. The commission has been at 1055 First St. in Rockville. Fred Ezra Co. represented the commission, and Weaver Bros. represented the new landlord, Beltway View Associates.