People Behind on Housing Costs Less Likely to Vote, and Other Reports and Studies

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Amid the good news of increased early voting turnout comes a sobering study that Americans who are struggling with housing costs today are significantly less likely to vote on Nov. 3.

In compiling survey data for the first week of October, Apartment List asked respondents about their intent to vote on Election Day. It’s statistical proof that COVID-19 and the resulting economic fallout remain defining issues of the campaign.

“The results point to a concerning trend in the way that economic hardship interacts with political participation,” according to the survey’s analysis.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 79 percent of those who began October fully caught up on their rent or mortgage say that they “definitely will vote,” compared to 55 percent of those with unpaid housing bills from prior months.
  • 78 percent of homeowners say that they will definitely vote, compared to 62 percent of renters, mirroring prior research on the disparities in political engagement between the two groups.
  • Overall, 31 percent of renters failed to make a complete rent payment in the first week of October, and 10 percent had not fully paid their September rent by the end of the month.

This is the first year that unpaid housing costs have been a significant variable in voting participation. According to the Census, 14 percent of renters and 6.4 percent of homeowners reported being behind on housing payments in September.

The data also shows Black, Hispanic and Asian renters have been the most heavily affected by the pandemic in terms of whether or not they are able to pay rent. COVID-19 “may be exacerbating long-standing inequities in housing security,” according to the study.

“We find that rent debt and missed housing payments are common across the political spectrum, and missed payment rates were consistent across respondents in counties that (Donald) Trump won and counties that (Hillary) Clinton won in 2016,” the survey stated.

Other Notable Reports

  • Texas A&M Real Estate Center: Existing homes sold through the Texas Multiple Listing Services increased 10.7 percent from August to September with 2.6 percent more sales than the same time in 2019. The National Association of Realtors shows existing-home sales are up just over 9 percent across the country. The median home price in September in Texas was $260,000, a double-digit increase from the same time in 2019. Read more here.
  • Zillow: In September, the typical home in the Dallas-Fort Worth market went under contract in 23 days, 5.5 percent faster than the prior month, and 32.2 percent faster than this time last year. Entry-level homes are selling in 19 days, 32.5 percent faster than this time a year ago. Also, the most expensive homes in D-FW are selling in 35 days, but still 33 percent ahead of last year’s pace. Read more here.
  • Entrata: 59 percent of renters used the full or partial amount of their stimulus check to help pay rent during the lockdown. Entrata is a leading technology provider for the property management industry based in Utah. Read more here.

Tommy Cummings

Tommy Cummings covers the North Texas housing market for CandysDirt.com. Tommy moved to Texas from Oklahoma in 1992 and has lived in Mansfield with his wife, Brigitte, and son, Beaumont, since 2002 (after a two-year adventure in California as a tech columnist/editor at the San Francisco Chronicle). Tommy started his media career at newspapers in Oklahoma before becoming an editor in many capacities at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News, where he wrapped up his newsroom career as a digital editor. His work has appeared in news outlets throughout the U.S.

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