It's time to rethink real estate spending

The federal government spends and commits an average of $450 billion each year on real estate, and this spending impacts millions of Americans on every street, in every neighborhood, town and rural community in the country.

What types of development do these programs support? How do they impact American homeowners and renters? And could these investments be getting a better return for taxpayers?

Federal investments in real estate could be helping communities grow stronger and more vibrant — in addition to achieving their goals of security and stability.

In order to do this, Congress should closely examine the $450 billion in annual spending and commitments currently dedicated to real estate. We urge policymakers to review these programs with the following goals in mind:

1. Support balanced housing choices in suburbs, cities and rural towns.
2. Reinvest in America’s existing neighborhoods and communities.
3. Provide a safety net for American families.
4. Help more Americans reach the middle class.

Rural main streets, suburban downtowns and city centers alike are the heart of the American economy and supporting these areas with strategic investment will help strengthen them. American communities have benefited from the support of federal real estate programs, but that support can do more for local governments, local neighborhoods, and the national economy.

As the 113th Congress begins its work - and while budget concerns remain a focus of debate in Washington - we urge Congress to make this examination a national priority.
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