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Renters Falling Behind, Survey Says

New survey data from Massachusetts finds massive housing market stress as more and more renters falling behind on payments.
June 11, 2020, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Johnny Habell

"Nearly one-third of Massachusetts residents have missed a rent or mortgage payment since the coronavirus crisis began, with younger and nonwhite renters most likely to have fallen behind," reports Tim Logan.

Logan is sharing news of new data released by MassINC Polling Group, which polled 1,5000 residents around the state at the end of May. 

Logan also adds that the bad news delivered by the survey data could get worse: "If the economic crisis sparked by the outbreak drags on another six months, the report says, only 40 percent of people expect to be able to keep up with their housing payments."

The data also revealed key demographic differences in the coronavirus housing crisis, as well differences between market sectors, according to Logan:

Indeed, the survey revealed sharp splits between the ability of homeowners and renters, and older and younger residents, to keep up with housing payments these last few months. While 29 percent of renters have been tardy on at least some portion of a monthly payment, only 13 percent of homeowners have been. Also, people 18 to 29 were more than four times as likely to have missed a payment as those ages 45 to 59.

The survey data from Massachusetts echoes other recent studies raising alarms about the challenges facing many renters and homeowners during the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. The initial fears about mass evictions and foreclosures seem to have been avoided so far in the pandemic, but like so many other unknowns about this crisis, the worst could still be yet to come.

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Published on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 in The Boston Globe
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