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Majority of Americans Struggling With Housing Payments

Nearly seven in 10 Americans with a monthly rent or mortgage payment have made sacrifices to pay for housing, according to the newest LendingTree survey. Some one in five individuals say they’ve opted to pay their rent or mortgage rather than have enough to eat.   

Despite eviction moratorium and mortgage forbearance relief being available throughout the pandemic, consumers have still found it difficult to stay afloat financially, giving up more personal luxuries to keep up with their housing payments. 

Some 48%, nearly half the American population, with a monthly rent or mortgage payment say they were worried about that payment during the past month.  

Those most worried include: 

  • Gen Zers (67%) 
  • Millennials (59%) 
  • Parents with kids younger than 18 (59%) 
  • Households that make less than $35,000 (57%) 
  • Women (57%) 
  • Renters (57%).   

Gen Z (ages 18 to 24) worries more about making housing ends meet than any other demographic. About 67% have cited financial worries. Due to financial hardships, 45% of consumers are contemplating moving to less-expensive living areas. Those most likely to consider moving are Gen Zers and renters.   

Unfortunately, one job isn’t enough for 30% of consumers to cover housing expenses alone. According to the survey, 3 in 10 consumers have even taken on additional jobs to afford and help earn additional income toward monthly housing costs. Others reported borrowing from loved ones, taking money from savings, or selling something of value. It seems multiple incomes are now essential, as a July 2020 LendingTree survey found that more than half of mortgage borrowers lost large quantities of income amid the pandemic.  

“An improving jobs market in 2022 may give consumers even more side gig options,” said Jacob Channel, LendingTree Senior Economic Analyst. “But that depends on whether companies continue to allow remote work options. Companies mandating that their employees return to their offices could result in people having less free time to get a second job.”   

By demographic, the main thing people say they did to make rent or mortgage payments varied: 

  • Men: Take on a side hustle or other job (23%) 
  • Women: Borrow from friends or family (37%) 
  • Gen Zers: Take on a side hustle or other job (51%) 
  • Millennials: Take on a side hustle or other job (38%) 
  • Gen Xers ages 41 to 55: Borrow from friends or family (32%) 
  • Baby boomers ages 56 to 75: Take money from their savings (15%) 
  • Renters: Borrow from friends or family (42%) 
  • Owners: Take money from their savings (24%) 

One in five Americans surveyed say their housing payments aren’t affordable. Of this group, 23% of women cite a lack of affordability, versus 15% of men. Data also found women more likely to act on housing affordability problems. Surveys showed women are more willing than men to sacrifice personal leisure's to make rent or mortgage payments. Overall, women, renters and parents with kids younger than 18 generally struggle the most with monthly housing costs. These groups are most likely to report making sacrifices to increase income, cut spending, or being concerned about affording their rent or mortgage payments along with providing for themselves and family.   

In 2021, some renters and owners leaned on government relief to stay afloat. More than 3 in 10 renters say the eviction moratorium provided significant relief during the pandemic. Meanwhile, 22% of owners say they applied for mortgage forbearance during the crisis, with 19% approved. Unfortunately, homeowners and renters aren’t likely to get much payment relief from housing expenses in 2022.  

“Prices will probably become somewhat more manageable, but rent and mortgage payments will remain steep in many parts of the country,” said Channel. 

LendingTree surveyed nearly 1,400 U.S. consumers with monthly rent or mortgage payments to find out what they’ve had to give up to budget for their housing costs. 

Click here for additional information on LendingTree's findings.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport magazines with more than eight years of writing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is an avid jazz lover and likes to read. She can be reached at [email protected].

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