Historically low interest rates and sustained strength in numerous economic sectors have helped jump the for-sale housing market this year. However, the housing industry is bearing a particularly harsh brunt of COVID-19—especially in terms of a scarcity of affordable rental housing, unequal access to good-quality homes, and vulnerability of much of the housing stock to natural disasters. Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies has released the 2020 State of the Nation’s Housing report , which highlights these housing industry challenges.
Renters earning under $25,000 yearly were much more likely to report lost employment income since the March shutdown as of the waning days of September. During this period, over 50% of lowest-income renters experienced dwindling wages. In comparison, 41% of all households--and around one in five renters earning less than $25,000 reported being behind on rent.
While state and federal moratoriums have so far put a partial brake on evictions, in light of the lack of federal aid, payments have been missed by a number of households that might not be in a position to cover their back rents. Consequently, eviction and possible homelessness could become inevitable.
Also hit disproportionately hard have been homeowners, households of color, and low wage earners. A total of 36% of all homeowners reported the loss of income between March and September while the shares top out at 44% among owners earning under $25,000, with Black owners at 41%, Hispanic, 49%. Toward the end of September, 7% of White homeowners were behind on mortgage payments compared to 18% of Hispanic owners, 17% of Black owners, and 12% of Asians owners.
In October, the FHFA released its Annual Housing Report, which outlines Freddie Mac's and Fannie Mae's 2019 affordable housing activities, fulfilling a requirement of 1992's Safety and Soundness Act, and more, according to TheMReport.com .
In addition to describing the GSE's affordable housing-related actions, the report provided information about single-family loan GSE purchases broken down by race or ethnicity, gender, census tract median income, fixed-rate vs. adjustable-rate, loan-to-value ratio, and credit score, according to the introduction.
Some examples of single-family goals, outlined in the report:
- A low-income home purchase goal for home purchase mortgages to families with incomes no greater than 80% of area median income (AMI);
- A very low-income home purchase goal for home purchase mortgages to families with incomes no greater than 50% of AMI;
- A low-income areas home purchase subgoal for home purchase mortgages to families living in census tracts, with tract incomes no greater than 80% of AMI, or families with incomes no greater than 100% of AMI who live in census tracts with a minority population of 30% or more, and a tract median income of less than 100% of AMI;
The report also delves into subprime, nontraditional, and higher-priced mortgage loan data.
Finally, the document includes information about the national mortgage market based on the National Mortgage Database (NMDB), a program jointly funded and managed by FHFA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, designed to provide a robust source of information about the U.S. mortgage market.
The new State of the Nation’s Housing report is available in its entirety here.