Real Estate Defaults Are Coming. Don’t Waste Them. Here’s what the federal government should do to grab the opportunity to create affordable housing.


Evidence of tremendous strain on tens of millions of renters across America continues to mount. Among renters in so-called Class C properties—rental properties that cater to lower-wage workers and families hit particularly hard by the pandemic—the percentage paying in full has dropped off from 46 percent to 24 percent since April, with only 12 percent of such renters paying in full on the first of October.

By now, the $1,200 stimulus checks have long since been spent. Although over 30 million Americans may be currently out of work, the $600/week extra unemployment payments ended, and Republicans in Congress oppose reinstating that benefit. Federal eviction protections (other than a recent limited public health order), and most state moratoriums, expired in late July. As a result, predictions range from 28 million to 40 million tenants at risk of evictions in the coming months, which is about 25 percent of America’s renter population. Displacement on that scale would vastly dwarf the roughly 3 million foreclosures of 2009 when the country plunged into a deep recession.

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