Strategies would be tailored to the needs of different areas of the country, federal officials said.
One idea could be to create pools of foreclosed properties that would be sold in bulk to private investors, who would then rent them out. Such a plan would lower the supply of homes on the market. But it also could lock in losses on the bailouts of Fannie and Freddie, which have needed $169 billion in taxpayer money so far to stay afloat.
Another idea could be for investors to buy homes and then make them available on a rent-to-own basis.
Finding occupants for foreclosed homes is crucial to solving the housing problems, said Daniel Aguilar, managing partner at McKinley Capital Partners, an Oakland real estate investment company that uses private money to buy foreclosed properties and rent them.
"You let a house sit … the appliances start breaking down, the plumbing starts going bad, especially the toilets," he said. "If a house sits too long, the maintenance costs to clean it back up go through the roof."
The government must be sure not to flood the market with distressed properties, as they can drag prices down, Aguilar said.
"The worst thing they could do is flood the market with houses all of a sudden," Aguilar said. "The banks have been very careful not to do that. If you put an oversupply of homes on the market, it destroys that particular market."
Many investor groups focus on buying foreclosed homes, either quickly selling them or renting them out until they appreciate in value.
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