Federal Financing of Smart Growth Development
Federal programs play an enormous role in supporting the real estate sector and directing new development. With nearly $1 trillion in direct tax subsidies and $4 trillion in loan guarantees over the last 5 years, the U.S. government has a significant impact on the real estate market, including where new development is built and what types of housing are created.
Current federal investments disproportionately subsidize larger-lot homes distant from transportation options, as opposed to smaller-lot homes in walkable communities which, as the market shows, consumers are increasingly demanding. Federal programs also heavily promote single-family homes over multifamily homes regardless of market and local need, and renter support is the smallest portion of all. These factors combined means home ownership remains out of reach for too many people.
An immediate need for new solutions
The U.S. population is projected to grow by more than 128 million people between now and 2050, adding about 40 million new households to our cities, towns and rural communities. In the past 5 years, nearly 10 million homeowners lost their homes to foreclosure, and another 4 million households are at risk to lose them soon. Houses people can afford in neighborhoods with low-cost transportation options nearby have never been in higher demand.
Innovative developers will address these new markets in smart ways, including investing in and around existing communities to provide cost efficient and desirable housing options. This will not only meet market demand but also help towns and neighborhoods build sustainable prosperity.
Real estate developers and investors can make a difference
Together with our members and partners, LOCUS is working to shift existing federal real estate financing programs toward smart growth real estate projects. LOCUS members are already advocating for changes to federal tax policies, lending and spending priorities and loan guarantees that would support smart growth development. Federal support for smart development will help real estate developers and investors to build communities with better choices for families across America.