Federal Housing Subsidies: To Rent or To Own?

Brief

Federal Housing Subsidies: To Rent or To Own?

December 20, 2007

A family's housing can take one of two forms: renting and homeownership. Although both provide shelter, they differ significantly in their implications for asset accumulation. Direct outlays made up 87.1 percent of federal rental-assistance spending in 2006, while tax breaks provided over 98 percent of federal homeownership subsidies. This breakdown reveals that the federal government places a priority on homeownership as opposed to rental housing; however, the distribution of homeownership tax breaks suggests that they provide little benefit to low-income families.

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