Country Running Out of Affordable Homes

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Key Highlights

  • Share of people behind on mortgages recently hit pre-pandemic level
  • Millions rushing to buy while millions struggling to make housing payments

New Study from Harvard University Indicates Growing Housing Crisis

In a comprehensive, annual report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies titled the “State of the Nation’s Housing Report,” millions of households are being blocked from home ownership by relentless price escalation.

(This report simultaneously points to millions of homebuyers rushing to buy first-time and/or move-up homes.)

According to Alexander Hermann, senior research analyst with the Joint Center for Housing Studies, “Millions of households were financially unscathed coming out of the pandemic, but, the pandemic has left millions of others struggling to make their housing payments, especially lower-income households and people of color.”

Majority of Renters Relying on Borrowing and/or Savings to Cover Housing Bills

Despite the federal government offering some $5T in relief (eviction moratoriums, expanded unemployment benefits, tens of billions in housing assistance), approximately 7M tenants were behind on monthly rent earlier this year.

CDC’s Federal Eviction Moratorium Soon to Lapse

With safeguards expiring and uneven eviction protection enforcement on a state-by-state basis, tenant rights advocacy groups point to tenuous uncertainty for tenants.

Additionally, there have been widespread delays in processing and administering federal emergency housing aid.  Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said, ”We’ve avoided some of the worst outcomes so far, but the crisis is not over.  If the Biden administration allows the federal eviction moratorium to expire before states and localities can distribute aid to households in need, millions of households would be at immediate risk of housing instability and, in worst case, homelessness.”

Melissa Dutton, managing director of the Legal Aid Society of Columbus OH, said, “It takes a really long time to process these applications, and a lot of landlords don’t want to wait six or eight weeks.”

By Helping Tenants, Federal Governments Also Helping Landlords

Some landlords indicated their tallies of unpaid rent have dropped to one-third thanks to government rental assistance.  On top of that, some landlords groups have indicated support for a longer moratorium if an extended moratorium translates into collecting more rent.

Tom Gannon, president of the California Apartment Association, theGolden State’s biggest trade group for landlords, said, “…getting the funds to landlords has been incredibly slow, and that has impacted those tenants who are truly in need and those landlords who are not getting paid.  We could support a limited short extension, but there has to be a way to get the funds out faster.”


Thanks to The New York Times.

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