With home sales anemic and an anticipated avalanche of foreclosures looming, policymakers are beginning to view renting troubled properties as a way to soak up inventory and put a floor on the housing market. And investors are starting to take note.

Institutional investors – none of which have been identified by name, though chances are private equity money would be involved – want to purchase seriously delinquent loans in bulk from the GSEs and lease back the properties to former homeowners at market rents. They also see a chance to create the first single-family housing REIT, which could attract even more institutional investors to the model.

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