The housing market helps undergird the U.S. economy, and when the housing market faces challenges, it often generates far-reaching ripples of economic stress. As the COVID-19 pandemic creates new and unfamiliar uncertainties, it is more important than ever to ensure that the housing market and the larger economy remain the powerful engines for growth and prosperity that we have relied on for so many years. This issue of Evidence Matters examines the strains on, and supports for, the various actors in the housing market, including renters, homeowners, landlords, mortgage lenders, and investors.
The lead article, “The Federal Government Steps Up in Times of Disruption,” looks at how the current economic situation has affected the housing market and how the federal government has acted to support the market, from renters to end investors. The Research Spotlight article, “The Federal Housing Administration: Bringing the Housing Finance System Out of a Chaotic Situation,” walks through the origins of the Federal Housing Administration and the key role it plays in the United States, with a close look at its role during the Great Recession and what it is doing to blunt the potential negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the In Practice article, “State Moratoria Support Households Experiencing Financial Hardship,” we dive deep into actions that Minnesota and Delaware have taken to protect vulnerable renters and homeowners.
This issue of Evidence Matters is set in the context of the initial months following the global outbreak of COVID-19. The pandemic and the federal, state, and local responses to it are constantly changing. Therefore, this issue represents a point-in-time snapshot of the state of affairs at the time of publication, and we anticipate that the needs stemming from this crisis, as well as the governmental responses to it, will shift dramatically in the coming weeks and months.
We hope this issue of Evidence Matters is a thought-provoking and timely resource for our readers as the country faces an unprecedented crisis. Please provide feedback on any of our issues at www.huduser.gov/forums.