'State of the Nation's Housing 2020' Report Traces Impact of COVID-19

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies releases its "The State of the Nation’s Housing 2020" report last month.

2 minute read

December 21, 2020, 9:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Coronavirus and Homelessness

A homeless encampment in a time of social distancing, pictured in Portland, Oregon in April 2020. | Robert P. Alvarez / Shutterstock

A post by the Housing Matter initiative of the Urban Institute shares news of the latest publication of the "The State of the Nation’s Housing 2020" report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS).

After noting the many disruptions affecting the housing market in 2020, the article summarizes the consequences of the year's events as worse for the housing crisis that pre-dated the pandemic.

The pandemic’s economic effects have amplified this crisis, and households with low incomes were more likely to report a loss of income and were more likely to be severely cost burdened. For aspiring homeowners, a combination of tight housing supply and historically low mortgage rates have increased the price of homes.

According to the report's finding, the pandemic's economic consequences have hit renters particularly hard, along with Latino and Black households. "[T]he nation’s housing challenges have never been so evident," according to the JCHS press release announcing the report [pdf].

As for the economic consequences of the pandemic, for homeowners, the press release provides insight:

…low income and households of color have taken a disproportionate hit. While 36 percent of all homeowners reported losing income between March and September, the shares are as high as 44 percent among owners earning less than $25,000, 41 percent among Black owners, and 49 percent among Hispanic owners. Additionally, while 7 percent of white homeowners were behind on mortgage payments in late September, the share was nearly two-and-a-half times higher among Hispanic (18 percent) and Black (17 percent) owners, and twice as high among Asian owners (12 percent).

In another post to grow out of the report's findings, Riordan Frost shares insights into trends in homelessness as reported in the study. The key takeaway: "Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, homelessness was increasing across the country."

Much of the data included in the report stops short of 2020, so the impacts of the pandemic will still be coming into focus for months and probably years.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 in Housing Matters

Large historic homes and white picket fences line a street.

The End of Single-Family Zoning in Arlington County, Virginia

Arlington County is the latest jurisdiction in the country to effectively end single-family zoning.

March 23, 2023 - The Washington Post

Amtrak Acela Express train passing through Harrison station in Newark, New Jersey

‘Train Daddy’ Andy Byford to Oversee Amtrak’s High-Speed Rail Efforts

Byford, who formerly ran NYC Transit and Transport for London, could bring renewed vigor to the agency’s plans to expand regional rail in the United States.

March 28, 2023 - StreetsBlog NYC

Buses in downtown Seattle on the dedicated 3rd Avenue bus lanes

Seattle Bus Lane Cameras Capture Over 100,000 Violations

An automated traffic enforcement pilot program caught drivers illegally using transit lanes more than 110,000 times in less than a year.

March 28, 2023 - Axios

View of Statue of Liberty with New York City skyline in background

Immigration Grows, Population Drops in Many U.S. Counties

International immigration to the country’s most populous areas tripled even as major metropolitan areas continued to lose population.

March 31 - The New York Times

Detroit Sports Arena

$616 Million in Development Incentives Approved for District Detroit

The “Transformational Brownfield” incentives approved by the Detroit City Council for the $1.5 billion District Detroit still require approval by the state.

March 31 - Detroit Free Press

A red sign reads, “Welcome to New Canaan.”

Affordable Housing Development Rejected for Lack of Third Staircase in Connecticut

The New Canaan Planning Commission rejected a development proposal, including 31 below-market-rate apartments, for lack of a third staircase, among other reasons, at a time when advocates are pushing to relax two-staircase requirements.

March 31 - Stamford Advocate

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

HUD’s 2023 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.