About $450 billion in federal money goes toward real estate each year, according to a new report from Smart Growth America

The federal government spends or commits more than $450 billion per year on real estate, according to a new report from the national non-profit Smart Growth America, deeply impacting local development all across the United States.

Many of these programs directly influence development in Alabama. Things like small business construction loans or the home Mortgage Interest Deduction help communities across the country build homes and businesses. With the growing local demand to live closer to work, within walking distance of restaurants, shops and schools, and have accessible transit nearby, federal policy needs to reflect the current market demands.


“It may come as a shock to some but the federal government has a strong hand in the real estate market,” says Geoffrey Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America. “How Alabama got to be the way it is – how Alabama will continue to grow and change – that’s all impacted to some degree by federal spending.”

“In our efforts to strengthen our local economy and make Alabama an even better place to live, a close look at these programs by Congressional leaders will be a key factor in our long-term success,” says Conservation Alabama Foundation Executive Director Adam Snyder. “We need to be responsive to market demand today and rebuild our economy in a manner that strengthens communities and protects our environment. The federal government shouldn’t stand in the way of development that allows Alabama residents to live a healthy lifestyle in a healthy environment.”

In “Federal Involvement in Real Estate,” Smart Growth America inventories federal real estate programs and takes a first-of-its-kind look at how the spending and commitments influence real estate development. The report’s findings reveal that federal real estate programs are not coordinated as a whole. That means programs could be doing a better job, and may even be working against one another.

Taxpayers and towns across Alabama may be losing out as a result.

“People across the country have ideas for how they want to improve their hometown,” Anderson says. “Some people want more businesses on Main Street, other people want more parks, and other people want something completely different. These are important conversations to have, and the federal programs at issue here impact those choices. Anyone who has ever taken a walk through their town or city has a stake in the decisions Congress will make in the next few months.”

The report contains a programmatic inventory of federal real estate spending and commitments. Read more at www.smartgrowthamerica.org/federal-real-estate.