Turning foreclosures into rentals promoted


LOS ANGELES -- A recent report predicts the market for foreclosed homes that are turned into rentals will be worth more than $100 billion this year.

Rents are on the rise as home prices fall. That has policymakers promoting the idea that selling foreclosed homes to investors as rentals could be a positive for the housing market -- helping take down the inventory of distressed properties and putting a floor on prices.

Last month, the Federal Reserve released guidelines that could encourage the practice of converting lender-owned foreclosed homes into rental properties. By converting foreclosures to rentals with steady cash flow, banks could reduce the number of their "substandard assets," a classification used by banking regulators to determine the health of banks.

The central bank said that lenders could receive Community Reinvestment Act credit for providing housing to low-income and moderate-income people by converting foreclosed homes into rentals.

As Los Angeles real estate agent Leo Nordine recently said, "There are so many investors buying right now it's insane."