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Rental Housing Finance Survey (RHFS)

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About the Survey


The Rental Housing Finance Survey (RHFS) is a survey designed to collect data on the financial, managerial, and physical characteristics of rental properties nationwide. The survey is sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and conducted by the Census Bureau.


The RHFS collects data from a sample of rental properties representing the housing structures in the United States. Owners and property managers provide the survey responses.


The survey collects data on the financing of rental housing properties with emphasis on new originations for purchase, refinancing, and loan terms associated with these originations. In addition, the survey collects data on property characteristics, such as number of units, amenities available, rental income and expenditure information.


Beginning in 2018, the Rental Housing Finance Survey will be conducted biennially between May and December in even-numbered years. The Department of Housing and Urban Development sometimes adjusts this schedule and/or sample depending on budget constraints.


The RHFS data will be collected from a random sample of rental property owners across the United States using a web-based instrument.

Data Products

The RHFS results will be released as a public use microdata file. In addition, the RHFS results will be published in national summary tables that provide a collection of statistics.

These data products will be available on the Census website, https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/rhfs.html

How Data Are Used

Examples of data use include those by:

  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) collects this data because this is the only source of information on the rental housing finance characteristics. With these data, HUD can gain a better understanding of the 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.

  • National and local policy analysts, program mangers, budget analysts, and Congressional staff can use the RHFS data to advise executive and legislative branches about the 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 may utilize the data to facilitate their research and projects.

  • The rental housing industry will be able to use the data to benchmark individual project performance against national data to help 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.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | BHS Team |   Last Revised: May 10, 2021 10:13:54