New data just revealed that eviction cases in the U.S. have jumped by almost 80% since October 2022. Official agencies report that about 13% of the U.S. population, which represents over 40 million people, is at risk of losing their homes this year amid explosive rent prices and a worrying trend among some of the country’s biggest landlords of increasing the rate of monthly evictions to boost their cash flow growth.
While companies and investors worry about their bottom lines, families are losing everything, and homelessness is growing all across the country. Housing advocates say this is the cliff we’ve been warned about and things will only go downhill from here.
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Corporate landlords are removing renters from homes at rates that largely surpass the typical pre-pandemic rate, a new report from the Eviction Lab at Princeton University shows. Analyzing how eviction levels changed in 32 U.S. cities over the past six months, researchers found that landlords in these areas filed about 970,000 eviction cases every month, a whopping 79% increase compared to a year prior.
In Phoenix, for example, rent prices shoot up over 25% year over year, with a median asking rent of $2,261. In Maricopa County alone, evictions are at their highest levels since at least 2016, with more than 45,000 filings so far this year. “Lately, it just seems to be all that we’ve been doing,” said Huberman, the presiding justice of the peace for Maricopa County.
Even areas experiencing less dramatic increases in rent are witnessing a rise in evictions as Americans scramble to cope with inflation. In Minneapolis, where rent increases have trended below the national average, evictions in December were 37% above their historical averages after shooting up in June, when the state lifted its eviction moratorium.
In the last quarter, the Las Vegas Justice Court head over 45,000 eviction cases, a significant rise compared to earlier years when the average was closer to 30,000 cases. In Dallas County, home to the city of Dallas, landlords filed almost 60,000 evictions in the past four months. This is not just a problem isolated to major urban centers, but also rural and industrial communities, where housing costs have been surging at an alarming pace as well.
The latest analysis of weekly U.S. Census data indicates that in the absence of robust and swift intervention, an estimated 44.5 million people in America could be at risk of eviction in the next several months. That represents about 13% of the U.S. 331 million people population.
“My biggest fear is the cliff that we’ve been all anticipating is here. From here on out, it’s going to be a very, very difficult time,” highlighted Tim Thomas, research director at the Urban Displacement Project at the University of California, Berkeley. “I don’t want to be a doom and gloom person, but we’re probably about to see the worst of what’s about to happen.”
Although inflation has finally started to ease, overall economic uncertainty is still on the rise, and rents nationwide are still $800 more expensive than in 2019. Before the pandemic, the median rent in the U.S. was at $1,062. Today, it stands at $1,937. America can’t afford to wait for another major national emergency to happen to finally start taking action. People are losing the roof above their heads, and their sense of dignity and security now, so we must act now before this crisis spirals out of control.
Article cross-posted from Epic Economist.