One of these days when rain is forecast maybe it will actually rain. #atlanta #downtownatl #grantbuilding #bluesky
As atlurbanist points out, aside from being a horrible regressive policy, the mortgage deduction also encourages sprawl.
There have been a string of articles in the last year or two that expose the ways that we subsidize sprawl, giving that development form an unfair advantage over compact, walkable growth.
But an interactive page published recently by Pew Charitable Trust really nails the issue with the help of maps: The Geographic Distribution of the Mortgage Interest Deduction
Look at the image above of north Georgia, taken from the Pew map. That dark blue doughnut shape is the suburbs of Atlanta, all relying on mortgage interest deductions at a rate that is far higher than the national or state average.
I was pointed to the map by a good post on Streetsblog. Here’s a quote from that post:
About 85 percent of federal subsidies for housing flow to single family homes…though only about 65 percent of Americans are homeowners and the majority of renters live in multi-family housing. The ultimate sprawl subsidy just might be the mortgage interest deduction….the vast majority of subsidies flow to households with incomes greater than $200,000…this money tends to flow to areas where everyone is dependent on a car.
What a far cry this is from the narrative often pushed by apologists for suburban sprawl and car-dependency. They claim that this development style allows for personal freedom and independence in a way that can’t be achieved when people are “living on top of each other” in a more compact form.
But the statistics don’t lie: when it comes to economics, there’s nothing independent about car-oriented sprawl. It’s the most economically inefficient, unsustainable, dependent development form we have and the studies that prove this to be true just keep on coming. But will we listen?
With the Metro Atlanta housing market booming once again, it becomes increasingly important to face the facts.
A baby died this morning because his mother was racing her Accord against a pickup truck. At two in the morning. With another 19-year-old as a passenger, who was also killed. I just… the hell?