Survey finds 1 in 4 Americans couldn’t pay April rent, mortgage

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  A survey of thousands of Americans found that the ability to afford housing has plummeted during the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Apartmentlist.com survey indicated that 24% of all renters and homeowners were unable to pay their April housing bill. Low-income households were most vulnerable, but about 17% of six-figure households were also unable to pay. 

Nearly half of both groups negotiated deals with landlords and lenders to reduce or defer payments.

Survey co-author Rob Warnock says those one-time stimulus payments are arriving just in time for a lot of folks to pay their rent for May.

“The $1,200 is roughly equal to the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in this country, so it could very well just be the May rent check for a lot of people,” Warnock said. 

But for renters, the long-term picture is a different story.

“We asked the respondents how confident would you be that you could afford your current housing situation through June. The renters were much more likely to say that they weren’t confident they could continue, whereas homeowners were much more confident,” he said. 

Whle there's a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic, Warnock says the liability isn’t going away, and he has big concerns for those who will face a mountain of debt when the crisis ends.