No Stimulus Checks in Sight as US Rents Soar

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At a time when housing has gotten so unaffordable, Americans need relief.

Key points

  • Rents are up 15% from a year ago.
  • The median apartment rent is now over $2,000 a month on a national level.
  • There are no additional federal stimulus checks on the horizon to provide Americans any relief.

It’s hardly a secret that many Americans are struggling with super-high living costs. Inflation has made everything from groceries to apparel to utilities more expensive, while the Ukraine conflict has driven the cost of gas way up.

But the typical American’s greatest monthly expense — housing — has also gotten more expensive. And in the absence of stimulus aid, many people are struggling to keep up.

Rents are soaring

New data from Redfin reveals that US rents are up 15% from a year ago. Just as alarmingly, the median apartment rent is now over $2,000 a month on a national level. And in some larger cities, like Austin and Seattle, rents are up more than 30%.

All of this is coming at a time when many Americans are still struggling to recover from the financial blow of the pandemic. In fact, an eviction ban was put into place early on in the pandemic when illness was rampant and many tenants lacked the means to keep up with their housing payments. But that ban has long expired, and at this point, tenants have very little protection against rising rents.

Of course, it’s easy to see why rent prices are so high. Because home values ​​are soaring and mortgage rates are up, fewer people are able to buy, so the demand for rentals has increased. And any time demand for a given commodity goes up, prices tend to follow suit.

Also, many landlords lost money during the pandemic due not to being able to collect rent or remove tenants who weren’t paying. As such, some may be raising rents now, while demand is strong, in an effort to stage their own recovery.

No stimulus despite skyrocketing rents

During the latter part of 2021 and first part of 2022, tenants struggling to keep up with their housing payments could apply for federal rental assistance — a program initially designed to help tenants with past-due rent catch up and stay in their homes. But at this point, a lot of states have closed their rent relief programs, which means tenants who can’t keep up with rising rents may have to bear the cost of moving or find some other solution.

Some people may be hoping that lawmakers will approve another round of stimulus checks to address the problem of soaring rent coupled with general inflation. But so far, that doesn’t seem to be on the table.

Federal stimulus aid is typically reserved for situations where illness is high. That’s not the case today.

Not only is the jobless rate down, but the labor market is actually loaded with opportunities. As such, those struggling with bills should not expect a stimulus payment to land in their bank account anytime soon.

That said, some states are sending out stimulus checks as a result of having excess money in their budgets. California, for example, is one of them. And seeing as how the median asking rent in Los Angeles is now a whopping $3,400, that’s a good thing.

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