REITs such as the American Home Real Estate Investment Trust illustrate the appeal foreclosed single-family homes have to institutional investors as an asset class. "By some accounts, $6 (billion to) $9 billion has been raised or committed, suggesting potential acquisitions of 40,000-90,000 properties," says KBW analyst Jade Rahmani. "We expect the REO-to-rental market to experience robust growth over the next 12-24 months, potentially emerging as an institutional asset class."

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