By Matthew Goldstein

The FHFA continues to reveal as little as possible about its pilot project of selling foreclosed homes to private investors in bulk sales.

With surprisingly little fanfare, the Federal Housing Agency announced this week that Pacifica Companies, a little-known San Diego investment firm, is the first company to emerge as the winner in the pilot project. Pacifica is buying 699 single-family homes that are part of Fannie Mae’s REO portfolio in Florida.

In the coming weeks, FHFA says it will announce the winning bids for bulks sales of REO homes in California, Arizona and Illinois as part of the much-hyped pilot project to sell 2,500 foreclosed homes. The agency that regulates Fannie and Freddie Mac says there will be no winning bid for some 541 homes it was planning to sell in Atlanta. The agency didn’t offer an explanation.

The deal with Pacifica is structured as a joint venture with Fannie that will distribute the cash generated from renting out the homes and eventually selling them three years down the road. The San Diego company is paying $12.3 million for its equity interest in the joint venture that values the portfolio at $78.1 million, or 96 percent of the appraised market value for the single-family homes. In the deal, Fannie will retain considerable equity in the joint venture and collect up to $49  million in revenue before the deal terms become more favorable to Pacifica–which also collects a separate asset management fee.

The deal structure is a bit complicated but FHFA is not saying anything more about the process. A spokeswoman for the FHFA says the agency has no plans to reveal the number of bids it received for the Florida properties or provide additional details on Pacifica’s bid or how it intends to manage the homes as rentals.