Rental Housing:

Use of Smaller Market Areas to Set Rent Subsidy Levels Has Drawbacks

RCED-94-112: Published: Jun 24, 1994. Publicly Released: Jun 24, 1994.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) section 8 housing subsidies, focusing on the effects of basing rental subsidy payments on smaller market areas.

GAO found that: (1) establishing fair market rents on the basis of smaller market areas would more closely reflect rents within those areas and increase housing choices for assisted households; (2) the cost of collecting the additional data needed to accurately determine and update fair market rents could range up to $750 million annually; (3) individual household costs could increase and fewer households will be served by the Section 8 program unless HUD increases the program's total funding; (4) HUD costs could increase if assisted households move from market areas where the fair market rents are the most advantageous; (5) the decrease in fair market rents could restrict assisted households' housing choices; (6) using smaller market areas to set fair market rents may have little effect on households' access to employment or educational opportunities because public transportation is available in many areas; (7) there is insufficient evidence to estimate whether setting fair market rent levels on smaller markets would have an inflationary effect on marketwide rental rates; and (8) the presence of a housing subsidy does not increase rents for the market as a whole.

Sep 13, 2017

Aug 1, 2017

Mar 1, 2017

  • housing icon, source: Comstock

    Low-Income Housing Tax Credit:

    The Role of Syndicators
    GAO-17-285R: Published: Feb 16, 2017. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 2017.

Jan 9, 2017

Nov 17, 2016

Oct 31, 2016

Oct 3, 2016

Jul 13, 2016

Jun 8, 2016

May 31, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here