Faced with a record inventory of foreclosed residences, the Veterans Administration's Houston office plans to auction 250 homes Feb. 8 and 9 in what is believed to be the largest such sale of single-family homes in the nation.

"These are houses we have had on the market more than a year and have been unable to sell through conventional means," said Mike McReaken, loan guaranty officer at the Houston VA regional office, which serves 90 counties, mostly in southeast Texas.

According to government data, more than 12 out of every 100 homes nationally that the VA has reclaimed are in the Houston area. By comparison, the rest of the state, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area, has a rate about one-fifth as high.

"As far as the VA is concerned, it's about 20 years since we have seen anything like this in Texas," said Tom Maher, assistant director for property management for the VA in Washington. "We are concerned about it."

At a previous auction in June, the VA put up 175 properties for sale, selling each for an average price of $28,500, McReaken said. "It was pretty successful."

Michael Inselmann, president of American Metro Study, a Houston market research firm, said, "It is the existing home inventory that is the problem."

The Multiple Listing Service count of the number of used houses on the market in Houston hit a record 41,000 at the end of 1985, a spokesman for the Greater Houston Board of Realtors said. That compared with 38,726 at the end of 1984 and 33,159 in 1983.

There is an estimated two-year supply of used residential housing in Houston, compared with 7,600 new units, a seven- to eight-month supply at current absorption rates, Inselmann said. That is the smallest number of new houses on the Houston market in 10 years.

Virginia State Sen. Elliot Schewel (D-Lynchburg), saying he is concerned about the water quality of Smith Mountain Lake, wants the General Assembly to study ways to regulate burgeoning development at the 20,000-acre resort.

"There have been a lot of studies and efforts made to come up with some kind of unified action around the lake, to address what some people would call unbridled growth," Schewel said. "Nothing concrete has actually been accomplished."

Schewel said a state-financed study would not be aimed at providing state control of the lake, but may involve "changing of laws . . . to allow the counties to act as a group."

Schewel, who owns property at Smith Mountain Lake and whose district includes part of the lake, said he would introduce a resolution calling for the study. It probably will cost $8,000 to $20,000 and may include other Virginia lakes facing similar situations, he said.

The counties surrounding the lake -- Franklin, Bedford, Pittsylvania and, to a lesser extent, Roanoke -- have not been able to agree on a plan to control use of the lake waters and shoreline.

Franklin and Bedford counties, which between them have 450 of the lake's 500 miles of shoreline, have no zoning ordinances, allowing developers to build with virtually no restrictions.

Several studies of the lake have been made in the past few years, including ones by Lynchburg College, the Franklin County Planning Commission and the West Piedmont Planning District Commission.

IN THE BUSINESS. . . John N. Gallagher, vice president and director of Shannon & Luchs' commercial management division, has been named manager of the year by the Greater Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management. . . . William L. Berry, president of the construction firm that bears his name, has been selected as man of the year by the Northern Virginia Builders Association. . . . The Montgomery County Board of Realtors set a new record for housing sales last year, closing the year with 10,596 sales, the first time the 10,000 mark had been topped and eclipsing the old record of 9,994 in 1978. . . . A McKeesport, Pa., family living in public housing -- Merrian G. (Babe) Snyder, his wife Mary, their daughter Ruth and grandson Tony -- has become the first in the nation to purchase their home under a nationwide Housing and Urban Development plan to sell public housing to tenants. . . . Marriott Corp. is opening its first Courtyard by Marriott hotel, the chain's moderately priced line, in Landover, with a second to open in March in Fairfax and a third to be started soon in the Reston-Herndon area. The Landover hotel is situated at 8330 Corporate Dr. . . . Real Estate Intelligence Report says that the American appetite for second mortgages is growing "at a dangerous rate," up from $10 billion in 1978 to $75 billion last year. . . . Indar S. Schabra has formed a new commercial real estate company, Central Commercial Realty, in the Twin Knolls Office Park in Columbia.

PERSONNEL FILE . . . Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. has named Hank Johnson vice president of corporate human resources, J. David Robinson vice president of administration and corporate properties, Henry Cassidy vice president of financial research and Michael J. Lea chief economist. . . . Michael A. Mack, senior executive vice president for John J. Kirlin Inc., is the new president of the Mechanical Contractors D.C. Associa-tion. . . . Former D.C. mayor Walter E. Washington has been elected vice chairman of District-Realty Title Insurance Corp. . . . Henry A. Long Co. has appointed Francis C. Steinbauer as chief operating officer, Thomas K. McLeod as chief financial officer and Charles B. Carter vice president for marketing. . . . Wayne A. Chasen has been named senior vice president/leasing and management at Artery Organization Inc., a Chevy Chase-based real estate and financial services firm.