As the global Covid phenomena ravaged lives and obliterated any sense of normalcy, homeowners and tenants were granted sanctions preventing evictions and foreclosures. Mortgage Relief and Sanctions prohibiting evictions lasted up to eighteen months, temporarily suspended evictions and foreclosures. Enabling protection for tenants and homeowners facing homelessness, these measures were implemented in order to minimize a surge of homeless amidst a mysterious new virus. State and City powers sought to avoid leaving the increased surge in homeless masses vulnerable to higher exposure risks and spiking infection rates. As the Grace Period comes to a rapid close, for many tenants and homeowners beset with several months’ piling rent and mortgage notices, payment deadlines are fearfully looming.
For homeowners, there is an opportunity for a surprisingly ironic reprieve in the form of a sale. Homeowners more than 90 days late on mortgage payments, not yet in the initiatory stages of foreclosure have the opportunity to sell their homes. The profits earned from this venture are then used to pay off the mortgage debt. With an increased demand for housing by those facing or experiencing eviction, the value of the homes increases for the newly evicted seeking a semblance of shelter and stability in the pandemic that has brought much uncertainty. This increased need for housing couples well with the increased availability of newly sold and selling homes.
With the majority of forbearances ending in September and October, Autumn 2021 is set to be a mini-boom cycle for the housing sector. However, with the prices of houses set to skyrocket, one wonders if socioeconomic disparities among demographics may leave some populations out in the cold come winter. Those who can afford to will flee into houses in Suburbs away from the sprawling populations in the crowded cities. Realistically, this could well leave certain groups of individuals displaced into actual homelessness, unable to pay the mounting past due balances. Likewise, certain communities historically disenfranchised may be left unable to afford options to more expensive suburban dwellings relinquished by the homeowners who had exhausted their mortgage forbearance. Covid and the housing crisis today may prove to be tomorrow’s catalyst for shifts in gentrification patterns, as well as another “white flight” to Suburban safety from urban pestilence.