FHA, Fannie, Freddie seek new options to offload REO properties

Lesson learned from Houston's foreclosure mess?

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Lenders have always viewed real estate investors with a wary eye. It seems all investors are grouped into flip-and-run speculators with little skin in the game, no plan for maintenance and repair, and yet huge expectations for short-term profits.

Lenders even raise interest rates on investment properties, feeling their risk in the deal should be greater than an owner-occupied property. Because the owner does not live there, it’s logical to assume the property will receive less care and attention.

Now, the situation apparently has changed — at least for investors who want to buy groups of foreclosed properties. In fact, they might even be viewed as saviors.

Recently, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the U.S. Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced they would seek new options for selling single-family real estate owned (REO) properties held by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

"While the enterprises (Fannie and Freddie) will continue to market individual REO properties for sale, FHFA and the enterprises seek input on possible pooling of REO properties in situations where such pooling, combined with private management, may reduce enterprise credit losses and help stabilize neighborhoods and home values," said Edward J. DeMarco, FHFA acting director.