While the government’s efforts to keep lenders solvent may have allowed them to hold off on selling some properties at fire-sale prices in 2008 (see part one), real estate brokers and auctioneers expect REOs to be big business in many markets this year.

FDIC-insured banks had $23 billion of REO inventory on their books at the end of September — a 134 percent increase from a year ago. That includes $11.5 billion in one- to four-family homes and $1.5 billion in property purchased with FHA-backed loans securitized by Ginnie Mae.

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