Giant Increase in CA Homeowners Fearing Foreclosure, New US Census Data Show

By Tim Shaler
Tim Shaler
Tim Shaler
Tim Shaler is a professional investor and economist based in Southern California. He is a regular columnist for The Epoch Times, where he exclusively provides some of his original economic analysis.
September 23, 2021 Updated: September 23, 2021

Commentary

The number of California households estimated by the US Census Bureau who believe they are “very likely” to lose their homes due to foreclosure in the next two months is more than 30 times what it was six weeks ago.

Data reported on June 30 and Aug. 11 showed that fewer than 4,000 mortgage payers were afraid of losing their homes due to foreclosure in the subsequent two-month period.

That number jumped to over 122,000 in the most recent Census Bureau’s “Household Pulse Survey” results released on Sept. 22.

Furthermore, the number of renters and mortgage payers who believe they are “very unlikely” to be able to make their next rent or mortgage payment has increased 40 percent in just the last six weeks.

There are now 1.4 million households who believe they won’t be able to make their next housing payment. Those 1.4 million households comprise 940,000 renters and 480,000 mortgage borrowers.

Epoch Times Photo

Six weeks ago, “only” one million households had the same fear. On Aug. 11, the Census Bureau data showed 1.0 million households were afraid they wouldn’t be able to make their next rent or mortgage payment. The Aug. 11 data showed that 774,000 rental households thought they couldn’t make their next payment. That same data set showed 245,000 mortgage borrowers were afraid six weeks ago about their ability to make their next payment.

Currently, there is a moratorium against evictions for nonpayment. The moratorium ends Sept. 30.

Many mortgage borrowers who would otherwise face foreclosure will likely sell their properties rather than actually “lose” their homes. With the large increase in property values over the last year and a half, most will be able to sell to settle their debts, but they will still have to find a new place to live. This might exacerbate rental increases at the same time any increase in homes for sale might alleviate upward pressure on home prices.

Rent-paying households, though, will simply have to move from their current situation and find new housing.

In all, 1.4 million households afraid of making their next rent or mortgage payment means about 4.2 million household members. That means the number of Californians who might eventually be at risk of being evicted from their home after the moratorium ends next week is larger than the entire city of Los Angeles—that’s a lot of people who might be looking for new housing over the next few months.

Tim Shaler
Tim Shaler
Tim Shaler is a professional investor and economist based in Southern California. He is a regular columnist for The Epoch Times, where he exclusively provides some of his original economic analysis.