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San Diego firm gets nearly 700 foreclosed Florida homes in bulk buy

September 10, 2012|By Alejandro Lazo

A San Diego real estate investment firm has won an auction of nearly 700 homes owned by Fannie Mae in Florida, part of a government initiative to sell vacant and distressed properties to investors.

Pacifica Companies, which describes itself on its website as a "privately held, vertically integrated real estate developer, owner, investor and investment manager" was announced as the winner of the auction by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The firm paid $78.1 million, or close to 96% of the properties' estimated worth.

Nearly 2,500 properties up for sale by Fannie Mae have been split up into eight geographic pools, and winning bidders are required to rent out the homes for at least three years.

The sale is a pilot program by the agency, 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.

Several hedge funds and other big investment groups backed with Wall Street money have lined up to bid on the homes. 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.

Several Fannie Mae properties in the Inland Empire are up for bid. The winning bidders in other geographic areas will be announced in coming weeks, the federal housing agency said.

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