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Overview of Federal Support for Housing
Elizabeth Cove Delisle (au)
The fed. government commits substantial resources to support housing and mortgage markets through a combination of spending programs and tax expenditures (that is, subsidies conveyed through reductions in taxes). During the crisis of the past two years, the budgetary commitment expanded — to about $300 billion in FY 2009 — from the placement into conservatorship in Sept. 2008 of the Fed. National Mortgage Assoc. (Fannie Mae) and the Fed. Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) and the creation of new housing programs. This report describes, in broad terms, the array of fed. activities that support housing and the recent expansion of particular programs. Most of the fed. government’s support for housing is provided for homeownership. In 2009, the fed, government devoted almost four times the amount of budgetary resources to supporting homeownership (about $230 billion) as it devoted to improving rental affordability ($60 billion). As a result of recent actions to address the crisis, the government now provides roughly equivalent amounts of support for homeownership through tax expenditures and spending programs. About 80% of the fed. support for renters is provided by spending programs; the remainder is provided through tax expenditures. The fed. government also shapes the housing and mortgage markets through regulation — as provided, for ex., in the Truth in Lending Act and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. This report categorizes 28 fed. housing activities by type of support (homeownership or rental), mechanism (spending or taxation), and budgetary cost in 2009. Figures.
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