When the pandemic hit in 2020, no one was ready for how long it would last and what its impacts would be. The country took a major hit economically, specifically housing affordability. Affected disproportionally compared to people in higher income areas were people of color and of lower income.
A substantial number of people moved out of expensive urban areas because of either the ability to work remotely or financial hardship. The cheaper areas outside of the main urban core are where these urbanites moved to. These outside areas saw increases to housing costs due to higher demand. The urban cores in general saw a decrease in housing/rent costs.
Housing Affordability Case Study
Let’s take a look at a case study in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Los Angeles is known for its sunny beach weather and its big Hollywood stars. Since there is such a large demand to live here, the cost of living is pretty high. This became less true when the pandemic struck. In March 2020 Angelinos left the city limits to be in areas less dense, crime ridden, and more serene. A recent local news article shows that citizens of Orange and Los Angeles counties are moving to Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The urbanites loved the fact that they could get the space and safety they wanted during a time when people could not venture out. People could enjoy a nicer work from home location outside of inner Los Angeles.
This migration throughout Southern California has created changes in rental pricing. Since there is a higher demand for housing in San Bernardino County, their prices have gone up. According to Zumper, the cost of rent went up 13% in this county. The exact opposite happened in Los Angeles County where rent was down 7% between March 2020 and 2021.
In my opinion, urban planning regulations should be used to combat some of the issues and inequalities created by the pandemic. There are minorities who live in cities like San Bernardino, Rialto, and Chino that now have to snag second jobs just to be able to afford their rising rent. One solution would be extending any deadlines on owing rent for the time being. People with lower income would have more time to save up money and pay their bills.
Now that the pandemic is nearly over, it is up to the people of the United States and the politicians in power to make sure. The cheaper areas outside of the main urban core are where these urbanites moved to. These outside areas saw increases to housing costs due to higher demand. The urban cores in general saw a decrease in housing/rent costs.
I hope you enjoyed reading about rent affordability during and after the pandemic. What are some urban planning solutions you think could be implemented in order to fix this house affordability issue? Where are you from? Are there housing affordability issues in your area? Please leave your thoughts and comments below. Finally, read some other articles like this one on our frontpage.