FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Media Contact: Dorcas Jones
Coronavirus Pandemic Exacerbates Pre-Existing Housing Insecurities, Report Says
Annual Housing Assessment Highlights Potential Impact of the Pandemic to Housing
COLUMBUS, OH - Since the onset of COVID-19, 90-day mortgage delinquencies in Ohio have seen an upswing, indicating potential for an increase in foreclosure rates in months to come. That is just one key finding of the Housing Needs Assessment, a yearly evaluation of Ohio's housing trends and challenges, by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.
This year's report contains a supplemental COVID-19 section to identify potential impacts of the pandemic on housing.
"Housing impacts every aspect of our lives," said Shawn Smith, OHFA's Interim Executive Director. "This pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a safe, affordable place to live, and the vulnerabilities we face without one."
Both the housing and rental markets are at risk of long-term consequences resulting from the pandemic and subsequent economic fallout.
For many Ohioans, affordability issues persisted long before the onset of the pandemic. While overall housing cost burden (spending at least 30% of income on housing) continues to decline in Ohio, specific subsets of Ohioans are still more vulnerable to high housing costs. For example, of Ohio's lowest earning renters, more than 70% experienced severe housing cost burden, compared to less than 1% of those earning 80-100% AMI.
Ohioans in rural Appalachia and denser urban areas – those living in mobile homes and overcrowded housing – were already experiencing increased housing cost burden and heightened housing insecurity. Other vulnerable populations include Black Ohioans, who are nearly three times more likely to live in poverty than white Ohioans.
With the onset of COVID-19, these groups may be out of work or at higher risk of unemployment and homelessness.
From April to June, when much of the state closed for regular business, home sales lagged, although home prices increased. With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, home prices have continued to rise, which bars low-to-moderate potential homebuyers from the market.
Renters in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus faced fewer eviction filings since the start of the COVID crisis, aided by moratoriums on eviction proceedings, financial assistance and closed eviction courts, but filings have been steadily increasing since April. As assistance runs out and courts resume, thousands are at risk when moratoriums expire.
The Housing Needs Assessment is an annual report compiled by OHFA's Office of Housing Policy that evaluates Ohio's housing landscape in order to gauge scope, identify gaps and determine key trends. The 2020 report includes layout and data visualization changes from previous years, including added geographic analysis, a breakdown of housing indicators by region and comparison to nearby state and national data.