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【World Property Journal】Fast Rising Unemployment in U.S. Greatly Increases Housing Rent Burden

【World Property Journal】Fast Rising Unemployment in U.S. Greatly Increases Housing Rent Burden

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Zillow research is now reporting that American renters who work in food and retail industries can find themselves spending 40% of their annual income on housing costs if they are unable to work for two months -- up about six percentage points from their current rent burden.

As local governments limit or close businesses to stop the spread of the coronavirus, different measures have been proposed to alleviate the financial hardships facing employees. Zillow analyzed how a short-term loss of income could affect renters' finances, and what effect these proposals could have on housing affordability for workers in some hard-hit industries if they are out of work for two months.

Single earners working in food or retail could expect to spend a median of 33.6% of their income on rent. Missing just two weeks' worth of paychecks would raise that to 35% of their annual income. And if they are out of work for two months, they could spend 40% of their income on housing, absent any other source of money. According to previous Zillow research, only 51% of renters say they can afford an unexpected $1,000 expense, and most renters (66%) already make at least one sacrifice to afford their rent1. The first sacrifice renters make is cutting back on entertainment, followed by picking up additional work -- which may not be an option right now.

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