Microblog #113: COVID-19’s Housing Impact

The novel coronavirus is changing our lives by the minute. Here are a few of the housing stories we’re following.

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Our world has been upended over the past few weeks—and housing is no exception. In lieu of a normal Microblog, we’d like to give a quick rundown of what we’re tracking during this pandemic.

The Housing Market

Things seem dire for many sectors of the economy right now, including the homeownership market. Redfin reports that growth in demand fell from 30% to virtually 0% in two weeks. But, as the New York Times reports, the market conditions might be advantageous to those looking to buy. In real terms, it may take a while for the pandemic’s effects on the housing market to really take shape. Meanwhile, in the rental market, some outlets are predicting a steep drop over the next 3 to 6 months due to the virus.

Easing the Burden

Many steps are being taken to make sure people don’t lose their homes during this crisis, from suspending foreclosures and evictions, to pausing mortgage payments. Direct cash assistance is one option on the table, but some are saying that rent should be suspended too—lest there be a sudden wave of evictions when the threat passes. Debates continue on the best policies to alleviate the effects of this situation, but many advocates are rallying for immediate federal assistance for keeping people housed.

NIMBYism in the Time of COVID-19

We all know people who “want” affordable housing—just not in their neighborhood. Well, it turns out something similar may be happening with drive-thru testing for the novel coronavirus. A planned drive-thru testing location in Darien, CT was cancelled, in part because neighbors complained on social media that the location was too close to their homes. Could NIMBYism threaten the building of a robust testing infrastructure?

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