02/01/2012 09:09 am ET | Updated Apr 02, 2012

Fannie, Freddie Regulator: Investors Can Pre-Qualify To Bid On Foreclosed Homes

WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) - The regulator for housing finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said on Wednesday investors could now sign up to pre-qualify to bid on foreclosed properties held by the government-controlled firms.

In a plan to help the struggling U.S. housing market by clearing a backlog of foreclosed properties, investors could purchase homes to convert them into rental units under the program.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency said it will announce the first transaction during a pilot phase of the so-called REO initiative in the "near term." (Reporting by Jason Lange and Margaret Chadbourn)