A call for examination of federal real estate programs

The following post originally appeared on the National Low Income Housing Coalition blog.

The home mortgage interest deduction turns 100 years old this year. Is it still doing the most it can for American families and taxpayers?

Smart Growth America recently examined the federal government’s involvement in the real estate market and its impact on homeowners, renters and communities across the country. The new report, Federal Involvement in Real Estate: A call for examination, surveys 50 federal real estate programs to better understand where this money goes and how it influences development in the United States. The spending examined in the report’s analysis includes tax expenditures, loan guarantees, and low-interest loans and grants – totaling $2.23 billion in federal spending over the five year study period.

This involvement has an enormous impact on the U.S. real estate market, and even a cursory analysis reveals this impact is uneven. Outdated programs and lack of coordination across agencies contribute to this imbalance, the report explains. As a result, many federal programs are not targeted to those most in need, are not targeted to strengthen existing communities and are not targeted to create more places with economic opportunities.