That's how many U.S. households didn’t make their rent or mortgage payments in December—1.2 million less than in September, new research shows.
An estimated 2.6 million, or 7.9% of renters, and 2.38 million, or 5% of mortgagors, missed making their payments in December, the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA’s) Research Institute for Housing America (RIHA) reported Monday, citing an internet panel survey of 8,000 households regularly polled about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s down from 2.82 million renters and 3.37 million mortgagors estimated to have missed payments in September.
“Gradual improvements in the labor market and economy helped more renters and homeowners make their housing payments at the end of 2020,” Gary V. Engelhardt, an economics professor at Syracuse University, said in a statement from the MBA. “However, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause financial stress for millions of Americans.”
Despite the progress, a potential housing crisis looms as national eviction and foreclosure moratoriums are set to expire in the next month or two. Some 2.3 million renters and 1.2 million mortgagors feel they are at risk of eviction or foreclosure, or would be forced to move in the next 30 days, the MBA said.
Even with rental assistance provided by the last pandemic relief package, Moody’s Analytics estimated in January that 6.8 million delinquent renters may owe $34 billion by the time February rent is due. The result, Moody’s said, would be a three-fold increase over typical eviction levels.