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'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.
December 21, 2020, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Coronavirus and Homelessness
A homeless encampment in a time of social distancing, pictured in Portland, Oregon in April 2020.
Robert P. Alvarez

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.  

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 in Housing Matters
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