As eviction moratoriums expire at the federal and local levels, millions of U.S. renters could be at risk of eviction over the next several months, according to a report compiled by a series of housing researchers. Nearly half of renters were already cost-burdened before the pandemic, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies, and roughly one third of U.S. renter households were unable to make a full August payment in the first week of the month, according to ApartmentList.

However, economic and legal conditions provide homeowners or potential buyers with far more protections – and even benefits. Because mortgage rates have hit a series of record lows, home buyers are rushing to lock in low rates and current homeowners are refinancing their mortgages. On top of this, homeowners with federally-backed mortgages can enter forbearance for up to one year.

“The housing market embodies the inequality that was magnified and exacerbated by COVID-19,” Diane Swonk, chief economist at accounting firm Grant Thornton, wrote on Twitter. “My stomach churns every time I think of what the evictions will mean for homelessness, which was rising when we were at 3.5% unemployment.”

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