The real estate investment firm Colony Capital has won an auction by the… (Alana Semuels / Los Angeles…)
Tom Barrack’s Colony Capital is taking a big step into foreclosures.
The Santa Monica real estate investment firm won an auction by the federal government to purchase 970 foreclosed homes in California, Arizona and Nevada from mortgage titan Fannie Mae for $176 million.
Barrack, owner of Colony Capital in Santa Monica, has had his name associated as a contender for several high-profile deals this year. He tried unsuccessfully to buy the Dodgers and he is considered a potential bidder for Anschutz Entertainment Group, better known as AEG, the Los Angeles sports and entertainment giant behind Staples Center and L.A. Live.
The bulk foreclosure sale is a pilot program by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and sister company Freddie Mac. The program is intended to help clear the large numbers of foreclosed homes on the books of the two mortgage giants without crashing the housing market's recovery. Investors who purchase the homes will rent the properties out.
In a sign of how competitive the bidding for the foreclosed homes was, the firm paid 112% of the properties’ estimated worth, according to a breakdown of the transaction by Fannie Mae.
Several hedge funds and other big investment groups backed with Wall Street money had lined up to bid on foreclosures. These big investors view a lucrative market for foreclosed homes converted to rental properties.
But groups associated with real estate agents, particularly the California Assn. of Realtors, have objected to the bulk sales of foreclosed homes to big firms, complaining that the housing market is actually suffering from a dearth of properties and could absorb more foreclosures.
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