The Washington Post's Oct. 25 editorial, "Structural redesign," criticizes government involvement in the housing market, pointing to the costs of the foreclosure crisis and failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The editorial states: "Developers, builders, real estate agents and advocates of low-income housing may plead their various cases for more and more subsidy. But America is overbuilt. In the second quarter of 2010, 10.6 percent of all apartments and 2.5 percent of houses stood empty, according to Census Bureau statistics.”
The National Housing Conference, one of MPC's key national partners, posted a response to the Post's overly broad assessment on its blog, noting that while vacancy rates are increasing, the need for affordable homes, particularly affordable rental homes, has not disappeared — in fact, it is on the rise. NHC's post observes:
A recent study, "Rental Housing Affordability," finds that between 1995 and 2005, two units were demolished or lost from the nation's rental inventory for every three units added. Many of these new units are more expensive, and thus unaffordable to lower-income renters.
More than 1 million subsidized rental units may opt out of the federal program when their contracts expire in 2013, further decreasing the supply of affordable rental housing.
A recent article in The New York Times, "Public housing repairs can't keep pace with need," notes that tenants’ requests for repairs are backlogged up to three years, highlighting the urgent human need for a newly revived housing policy.
NHC concludes by crediting the Obama administration with ongoing efforts to link housing solutions to economic development, health, and other priorities, stressing that the private market alone cannot meet the nation's full multifamily housing finance needs. Given the importance of multifamily rental housing in meeting American’s housing and economic development needs, any reform of the nation’s housing finance system must ensure the continued availability of capital to preserve and develop multifamily rental housing.