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Excess Federal Real Estate is Persistent Challenge, GAO Finds

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  • March 7, 2011
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The federal government is spending billions of dollars to operate thousands of excess and underutilized properties, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In fiscal 2009, 24 federal agencies including DOD reported 45,190 underutilized buildings that cost $1.7 billion to operate annually. Underutilized properties produce no revenue for the General Services Administration (GSA), harming the agency’s ability to respond to the government’s changing real estate needs over the coming years, GAO stated.

The glut of surplus properties stems from a variety of factors, according to the report. Stakeholders, such as local officials and advocacy groups, impede property disposal. Also, the lengthy disposal process for federal property also hampers the ability of GSA to unload unneeded facilities, the congressional watchdog agency found.

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