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A foreclosure sign sits in front of a home for sale.
This is from AP (via the Washington Post):
A new federal report shows that speculative real estate investors played a larger role than originally thought in driving the housing bubble that led to record foreclosures and sent economies plummeting in Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida and other states.
Researchers with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that investors who used low-down-payment, subprime credit to purchase multiple residential properties helped inflate home prices and are largely to blame for the recession. The researchers said their findings focused on an “undocumented” dimension of the housing market crisis that had been previously overlooked as officials focused on how to contain the financial crisis, not what caused it.
The story goes on to point out that less swashbuckling investors in Nevada are now buying foreclosed, abandoned homes, "fixing them up" and selling them.