Coronavirus Economy Could Burst America's Big-City Rent Bubble

But the overall housing crisis could actually worsen as many Americans struggle to pay rent at any cost

FIle photo of near-empty streets in Brooklyn, New York
Andrew V. Pestano

The gridlocked coronavirus economy could upend housing from coast to coast, bursting national apartment rents that have risen by 150% over the last decade, experts say.

Yet the situation will likely do little to alleviate the housing crisis, because the more than 16 million Americans who filed for unemployment insurance in the last three weeks will still need roofs over their heads, say economists and affordable housing advocates, NBC News reports.

Overheated rents are blamed in part for the rise in homelessness and "deaths of despair," as well as the need for 13 million Americans to take on more than one job. More than a third of U.S. homes are rented. The median price for a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,102; in New York, $2,565; and in Boston, $2,125.

Housing and homelessness experts continue to argue over the solution, from building more housing to fighting gentrification, but the halted economy could end up being the ultimate down force.

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