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The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • Rental Housing Policy in the United States
  • Volume 13 Number 2
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

Rental Housing: Current Market Conditions and the Role of Federal Policy

Denise DiPasquale, City Research

As with the articles in this issue, this introduction reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


This paper examines the impacts of the recession, the foreclosure crisis, and the freeze in the credit market on the rental housing market and the resulting implications for federal policy. In some markets, high rental vacancy rates, falling rents, and declining renter incomes threaten the financial viability of many rental housing properties. Rental housing property values have declined and delinquency and foreclosure rates are increasing. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now dominate the multifamily mortgage market. The reconstruction of the nation’s housing finance system must include consideration of the financing needs of the multifamily mortgage market. The widespread recognition of the risks associated with homeownership demonstrated by the foreclosure crisis provides the opportunity to move to a national housing policy that levels the playing field between owning and renting. Scarce subsidy dollars should be more targeted to the neediest citizens.

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