The federal government plays a substantial role in the housing market. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase and guarantee loans from banks and other lenders, and the Federal Housing Administration and some other agencies increase the availability of mortgages by assuming most of the risk of default on loans to eligible home buyers. In addition, the federal tax code encourages home ownership by allowing deductions of mortgage interest and property taxes and excluding most capital gains from taxation when a home is sold. CBO's work (including its analysis of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) assesses the effects of those policies and the impact of legislative proposals regarding the housing market.
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