Top 10 of 2013: Finding ways for Congress to cut costs and help American families


This month, we’re looking back at some of Smart Growth America’s brightest moments and greatest accomplishments from 2013. Today’s highlight? Our recommendations for how Congress could improve how it supports real estate while saving billions of dollars at the same time.

The federal government spends approximately $450 billion each year on programs that influence the private real estate market. From loan guarantees to commercial tax credits, these programs span multiple agencies and were created at different times for different purposes over the past several decades. Perhaps as a result, there are problems with these programs.

Today’s programs unfairly penalize families who can’t afford or choose not to buy a home, favor single-family homes over other types and provide financial incentives to purchase second homes when many families still struggle to purchase their first. In addition, the majority of funding goes to a small proportion of households, several policies are barriers to forces in today’s marketplace and programs are failing to adequately support existing neighborhoods. Taken as a whole federal real estate programs have not kept pace with the evolving real estate market nor do they pursue of a coherent set of policy goals.

In July, Smart Growth America published Federal Involvement in Real Estate: A Call for Action, a set of proposed reforms that would improve and coordinate outdated programs, achieve better outcomes for American families and save the federal government billions of dollars each year.

This new platform unites neighborhood advocates, real estate developers and budget hawks, and together, we can help more people have access to affordable homes and save for their first down payment. We can leverage private investment to rebuild America’s infrastructure, and we can revitalize communities across the country.

Help us improve federal real estate programs: Donate today

Together we can help families grow more prosperous, create economically resilient communities and get a strong return on taxpayer investment at the same time. Help us achieve these goals by donating today: