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How Many Americans Are Struggling to Pay for Housing?

borrower outreachAs the number of new cases of COVID-19 continue to increase across the world, so too do the number of Americans struggling to make their mortgage and rent payments. According to a new report from ApartmentList, August found just over one-third of Americans surveyed reported lacking sufficient funds to pay their housing bills. 

Based on a survey of more than 4,000 Americans, this month marks the fourth month in a row that the nation’s tenants and homeowners struggled to meet their monthly rent and mortgage deadlines. ApartmentList reports, "For the fourth straight month, roughly one-in-three Americans failed to make a full, on-time housing payment. Late and unpaid housing bills are accumulating, putting financial strain on many families and deepening concerns of near-term evictions and foreclosures."

Americans have been temporarily protected from eviction and foreclosures due to federal and local eviction bans to date, but with those continuing to expire across the nation, the comings days feel uncertain and homeowners and renters seem to be just digging deeper into debt. According to the report, "32% of renters (and homeowners) entered August with unpaid bills." Of those, 20% reported entering the month with more than $1,000 owed and unpaid for the month.

Here's how that stacks up compared to the previous month. At the end of July, 15% of renters "had accumulated rent debt but owed their landlords less than $1,000." Eleven percent owed between $1,000 and $2,000, and another 5% reported owing more than $2,000.

For homeowners, 8% reported having missed payments totaling less than $1,000; another 11% owed between $1,000 and $2,000, and 13% owed more than $2,000.

While both the challenges and the available remedies for those in the rental market differ from those available to homeowners, the fears of a "worst-case scenario" are much the same. Of those ApartmentList surveyed who had entered August with unpaid housing bills, 66% of renters and 65% of homeowners said they were concerned they might face an eviction or foreclosure within the next six months.

During the first week of August alone, just over 10% of Americans surveyed reported that they made at least a partial payment of their monthly rent or mortgage bill. However, just shy of a quarter (22%) of respondents said they had yet to make any payment at all toward their housing bills this month.

About Author: Andy Beth Miller

Andy Beth Miller is an experienced freelance editor and writer. Her main focus is travel writing, and when she is not typing away from her computer at her home in the Hawaiian Islands, she is regularly roaming the world as a digital nomad, and loving every minute of it. She has been published in myriad online and print magazines, is a fan of all things outdoors, and finds life (and all of its business, technological, and cultural facets) fascinating in their constant evolution. She is excited to spectate as the world changes, and have a job that allows her to bring a detailed account of those constant shifts to her readers at home and abroad.
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