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June 4 -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) invites public comment on its proposal for the 2021 Rental Housing Finance Survey (RHFS). Comments are due by August 3, 2020.
 
The RHFS provides a measure of financial, mortgage, and property characteristics of rental housing properties in the United States. RHFS focuses on mortgage financing of rental housing properties, with emphasis on new originations for purchase-money mortgages and refinancing, and the characteristics of these new originations.

The RHFS will collect data on property values of residential structures, characteristics of residential structures, rental status and rental value of units within the residential structures, commercial use of space within residential structures, property management status, ownership status, a detailed assessment of mortgage financing, and benefits received from Federal, state, local, and non-governmental programs.

The RHFS is conducted every three years by the Census Bureau on behalf of HUD. HUD announced the release of the 2018 RHFS data on June 3, 2020:  https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_20_071.   

HUD indicates that the 2021 RHFS questionnaire will not differ significantly from the 2018 RHFS version. Many of the questions are the same or similar to those found on the 1995 Property Owners and Managers Survey, the rental housing portion of the 2001 Residential Finance Survey, and previous RHFS collections.

With these data, HUD can gain a better understanding of rental loan origination volumes, property characteristics associated with these originations, and operating cost and revenue characteristics for the rental housing stock in the United States.  The RHFS will play an important role in enabling the Federal Housing Finance Agency to fulfill its requirements to set affordable housing goals for the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and to develop standards for underwriting rental property mortgages.  The RHFS data can be used to provide a statistically representative picture of rental property financing and critical components of the national income accounts.  
 
National and local policy analysts, program managers, budget analysts, and Congressional staff can use the RHFS data to advise the executive and legislative branches about financial characteristics of the rental housing stock in the United States and the suitability of public policy initiatives.  The data will also help analysts to determine which properties take the most advantage of various government programs, and where changes to programs might be advisable.
   
Academic researchers and private organizations will use the RHFS data in efforts of specific interest and concern to their respective communities.  For example, no national data are available currently on such items such as rent concessions and expenses on capital improvements.
   
The rental housing industry will be able to use the data to benchmark individual project performance against national data to help them make better business decisions.  Rental housing is critical to solving the nation’s affordable housing problems, and potential investors in the rental housing market will gain a better understanding of the ownership and financing structures of the industry with these data.

These estimates will be based on data collected from a representative sample of rental housing units in the United States in 2021.  These rental units will be used to identify rental housing properties. The owners and/or property managers of the structure containing the sampled units will be contacted and asked about specific financing and property-related characteristics. The sample universe (N = 11,457) consists of rental units from the 2019 American Housing Survey (AHS) Sample.
 
Census RHFS website: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/rhfs.html
Federal Register notice: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/06/04/2020-12079/60-day-notice-of-proposed-information-collection-2021-rental-housing-finance-survey
2018 RHFS questionnaire: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8dj6bh1922wyoy4/2018%20RHFS%20questionnaire.docx?dl=0
Draft Supporting Statement Part A -- purposes and uses: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1biuwbddy6idovu/RHFS%202021%20OMB%20Justification%20Part%20A%20draft%2006-04-20.docx?dl=0
Draft Supporting Statement Part B -- data collection and estimation procedures: https://www.dropbox.com/s/vuh09u9saoi1xm0/RHFS%202021%20OMB%20Justification%20Part%20B%20draft%2006-04-20.docx?dl=0
 
Point of contact: Shawn Bucholtz, Director of the Housing and Demographic Analysis Division, Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R), HUD    Shawn.J.Bucholtz@hud.gov

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