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2013-01-22 — time.com

The housing recovery was prevented for so long in part because of tight credit standards and because so many homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. This left many homeowners unable to take advantage of increasingly cheap prices. But by 2012, home prices had fell so far that it became lucrative for investors -- either investment vehicles like real estate investment trusts or individual investors looking to earn extra income as landlords -- to snap up real estate at historically low prices

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