The CBO has a new “economic and budget issue brief” out on one of our favorite subjects, federal support for housing. The gist: there’s a lot of it.
I’ve written about this stuff before, but this time around one factoid especially caught my attention:
The CBO estimated that about $230 billion went to supporting homeownership in 2009, and $60 billion to helping renters.
A little further on, there was this somewhat depressing observation:
Federal housing policy has long aimed to increase the rate of homeownership and, to a lesser extent, make rental housing affordable for low-income families. The nation has made more progress on the former goal than on the latter. Homeownership rates increased steadily throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, peaking in 2004 at just under 68 percent of all households … However, the proportion of households paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing—an amount that is often categorized as unaffordable in light of households’ other needs—increased steadily from 1997 to 2007. The burden of housing’s costs is more pronounced among renters than among owners: In 2007, 45 percent of renters (compared with 30 percent of owners) paid more than 30 percent of their income for housing.
So by turning homeownership subsidies into another middle class entitlement, we’ve actually made housing less affordable for lots of Americans. Brilliant!