The Federal Housing Finance Agency said today that the winning bidders have been selected in Fannie Mae’s first bulk sale offering through the REO-to-rental pilot initiative.

The FHFA said the winning investors were chosen based on their financial strength, asset management experience, property management expertise and prior history in the geographic area.

According to the conservator, transactions are expected to close early in the 3Q 2012.

In February, FHFA launched the REO-to-rental program to help the government-sponsored enterprises dispose bank-owned assets in their portfolios.

When the FHFA announced this strategy to the housing industry earlier this year, there were over 220,000 foreclosed and REO properties being held by HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac combined at the close of the third quarter of 2011. This makes up nearly half of the nation’s REO inventory that is available on the market.

“FHFA undertook this initiative to help stabilize communities and home values in areas hard hit by the foreclosure crisis,” said Edward DeMarco, acting director of the FHFA. “As conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we believe this pilot program will assist us in achieving our objectives and help to maximize the benefit to taxpayers.”

Fannie Mae unveiled at the end of February the sale of 2,490 foreclosed housing units that investors could acquire and then convert into rental properties for future homebuyers.

Just 17% of the units in Fannie’s pilot portfolio are vacant, which means investors will take control of cash flow producing, turnkey properties. The package is top-heavy with single-family homes located in Atlanta, Arizona, Los Angeles/Riverside and different parts of Florida.

To participate in the program, the FHFA wants investors that have the financial capability to acquire these assets and who have sufficient experience and knowledge in similar business matters to analyze and bear the risks of this type of investment opportunity.

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