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Renters or Homeowners: Who Struggles More Financially During COVID-19?

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According to new data released by Redfin, the economic trauma inflicted during the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a more severe toll on renters than homeowners.

In a survey of more than 3,000 adults conducted from October 7-15, Redfin found 30% of respondents either lost their job or experienced lower wages during the pandemic. By housing status, 39% of respondents who were renters suffered from a loss of job or wages during the pandemic, compared to 30% of homeowners.

Redfin also found 50% of respondents to the same survey say they were financially better off now than they were four years ago. Broken down by housing status, 53% of homeowners reported being financially better off than they were four years ago, compared with 44% of renters. Furthermore, 37% of renters said they were financially worse off now, compared with just 22% of homeowners.

Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather observed that renters who lost their jobs or saw shrinkage in wages are “likely dipping into savings for daily living expenses, pushing homeownership further out of reach. More homeowners have been able to keep their jobs, and many who can work remotely are cashing in their home equity to purchase a bigger, better home in a more desirable area.”

Redfin also number crunched based on the recent election and found 63% of respondents who identified as Trump voters said they are financially better off than they were four years ago, versus 43% of Biden voters. However, Redfin noted that renters were more likely to be Biden voters, with 57% of renters reporting themselves as Biden voters 32% reporting themselves as Trump voters – on the flip side, though, 47% of homeowners said they were Trump voters and 46% were Biden voters.

“Even though the country is in the midst of a major economic downturn, the majority of homeowners have made financial gains over the last four years, partly due to a big increase in home values,” Fairweather said. “But renters who have faced rising housing costs without a corresponding rise in wealth from home equity are more likely to be financially worse off than they were four years ago. The desire for change may be one reason why renters are significantly more likely to have voted for Joe Biden for president.”

About Author: Phil Hall

Phil Hall is a former United Nations-based reporter for Fairchild Broadcast News, the author of nine books, the host of the award-winning SoundCloud podcast "The Online Movie Show," co-host of the award-winning WAPJ-FM talk show "Nutmeg Chatter" and a writer with credits in The New York Times, New York Daily News, Hartford Courant, Wired, The Hill's Congress Blog and Profit Confidential. His real estate finance writing has been published in the ABA Banking Journal, Secondary Marketing Executive, Servicing Management, MortgageOrb, Progress in Lending, National Mortgage Professional, Mortgage Professional America, Canadian Mortgage Professional, Mortgage Professional News, Mortgage Broker News and HousingWire.

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