Residential housing providers generate important social and economic contributions to the United States. First and foremost, they serve over 44 million American households across all economic and demographic groups, including more than 5.3million households that receive federal government rental assistance for affordable housing.Additionally, the industry invests in new and improved properties which, in turn, have positive impacts on local communities. The industry is made up of small “mom-and-pop” businesses and large companies who employ hundreds of workers and manage thousands of units.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on renters and housing providers alike. Americans faced and continue facing high unemployment and economic hardship. When households cannot afford to pay rent, housing providers forgo expected rental income which is used to cover property and operations expenses.The negative economic impacts on housing providers affect individuals and families who rent, homeowners, service providers, and the surrounding communities.This report analyzes the economic and business impact of COVID-19 on housing providers and the subsequent impact on renters and surrounding communities in the short and long term.
Rental Landscape Before COVID-19
In 2019, nearly 36% of American households rented (44.1 million). The share of renters is greater in the West and the Northeast (39.9% and 38.4%, respectively) compared to the South and Midwest (34.6% and 32.0%, respectively). Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly half of American households spent at least 30% of their income on rent. The share was highest in the West (50.8%), followed by the Northeast (49.0%), South (48.7%), and Midwest(44.3%). These figures demonstrate the financial vulnerability of many American households, even before COVID-19. While federal housing assistance programs provide aid to over 5.3 million households in need via Section 8,Public Housing, and USDA rental assistance programs, the number of eligible households is much greater.