Key Highlights

  • Under the CARES Act passed by Congress last month, a typical American is to receive a one-time stimulus check of $1,200
  • Stimulus checks supplement other federal government relief efforts to help pandemic-impacted people deal with disruption
  • Other government efforts to help relieve COVID-19 losses include expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits, a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for many owners and renters, a mortgage forbearance program and several small business relief efforts

A component of the $2.2T Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) designed to assist people and businesses impacted negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic is a provision of a one-time stimulus check for as much as $1,200 to millions of American adults. Households with children under 18 years old are to receive an additional check of $500/child.

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How far would $1,200 go in terms of paying one month’s worth of housing?

Of the 50 largest metro areas, here are the top 5 and lowest 5 city rankings by the percentage of homeowners who could cover “most or all” of their one month mortgage payment combined with basic utility costs:

  • Nationally, with a median monthly mortgage payment of $1,566, 47% of homeowners could cover most/all of monthly mortgage and utilities with $1,200
  • Indianapolis IN – 66% could cover most/all of one month mortgage/utilities with $1,200; 80% could cover with $2,400
  • Louisville KY – 65% could cover most/all with $1,200; 92% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • Birmingham AL – 65% could cover most/all with $1,200; 91% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • Memphis TN – 64% could cover most/all with $1,200; 92% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • Buffalo NY – 63% could cover most/all with $1,200; 92% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • San Diego CA – 14% could cover most/all with $1,200; 47% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • Los Angeles – 13% could cover most/all with $1,200; 48% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • New York NY – 11% could cover most/all with $1,200; 43% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • San Francisco CA – 8% could cover most/all with $1,200; 33% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • San Jose CA – 6% could cover most/all with $1,200; 27% could cover most/all with $2,400

Here are the top 5 and lowest 5 city rankings by the percentage of renters who could cover “most/all” of their one-month rental payment combined with basic utilities costs:

  • Nationally, with a national median rental payment of $1,058, 77% of renters could cover one month of rental and basic utilities costs with $1,200 and 96& could cover most/all with $2,400.
  • Buffalo NY – 94% could cover most/all with $1,200; 98% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • Cleveland OH – 93% could cover most/all with $1,200; 98% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • Louis MO – 93% could cover most/all with $1,200; 99% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • Birmingham AL – 93% could cover most/all with $1,200; 99% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • Memphis TN – 93% could cover most/all with $1,200; 99% could cover most/all with $2,300
  • Seattle WA – 47% could cover most/all with $1,200; 90% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • San Diego CA – 42% could cover most/all with $1,200; 86% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • Washington DC – 40% could cover most/all with $1,200; 88% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • San Francisco CA – 32% could cover most/all with 41,200; 71% could cover most/all with $2,400
  • San Jose – 22% could cover most/all with $1,200; 60% could cover most/all with $2,400

As you’ve noted, there is a higher percentage of renters who can afford most/all of their housing costs than homeowners. Providence RI had the highest disparity as 87% renters and less than 33% of homeowners could cover monthly costs with $1,200. San Jose showed the least disparity with 22% of renters and 6% of homeowners being able to cover most/all costs with $1,200.

 

Thanks to Redfin.