A new Harvard housing reports has thrown up dismal facts about the housing crisis across the nation. It reports that more than two million homeowners are behind payments and face imminent closures. It also warns that millions more face eviction. All of this can happen in a matter of weeks. The pandemic is abating mainly due to the vaccine drive and the economy is rebounding but it’s not enough to prevent home losses as federal eviction protections will expire by the end of June.
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order and federal limitations on foreclosures on federally backed housing are set to expire on June 30. There has been a push by housing advocates who have asked the Biden administration to extend the expiry date but there has been no indications that this could happen.
Last spring, a foreclosure moratorium was passed as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The provision in the act was extended by the White House under President Biden. Over seven million households across the nation took advantage of the moratorium.
Although millions of homeowners have started to pay their mortgages from March 2021, there are also more than 2.1 million of them who are behind their mortgages according to researchers. There is also a wide disparity in those who lost their jobs and income losses during the pandemic and those who have got back their jobs.
The researchers at Harvard also reported data showing the percentage of homeowners behind their mortgage payments as per race early this year.
- Black — 17 percent
- Asian-American — 16 percent
- Hispanic — 16 percent
- White — 7 percent
A report funded by Wells Fargo Habitat for Humanity, the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders found out that accumulating savings needed for down payments and closing costs were difficult for almost all first-time buyers but was more difficult for renter households of color.
The report suggested that additional money should be put into state and local governments so that they could offer down payment assistance programs. The money should also be used to target people of color to shrink the gap.