Investors show interest in foreclosure plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Big investors are showing interest in an evolving Obama administration plan to sell off foreclosed homes, although the government will have to make the offer sweet enough to coax private funds.

The White House is assessing how best to encourage private companies and investors to snap up foreclosed properties held by the government and convert them into rentals.

Officials want private partners to take over as much as $30 billion in single-family properties that are currently on the books of government-run Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration.

Several money managers with large fixed income funds are interested, according to sources, and a request for ideas on how to construct a program received nearly 4,000 responses.

A glut of foreclosures has weighed on home prices and the overall economy. An effort to get some of that inventory off the  market could help stabilize it, while providing affordable rental options to Americans unable to obtain a mortgage.

The foreclosure conversion program would come as the next step to complement other government supports for housing,  including an expanded refinance program announced on Monday.

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