Data Deficit on Mortgage Problems' Effect On Renters

April 30, 2008

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The current mortgage turmoil is usually portrayed as a home-owner crisis, but housing advocates and scholars meeting in Chicago today worry renters are getting snarled in it, too.

Harvard University scholar Bill Apgar says there're easily-digestable data on home-owners' financial woes, but he says when landlords get hit, apartment buildings close. Apgar says no one's tracking how many renters are displaced, nor how much they pay when they find new apartments.

APGAR: We have less good data on small, multi-family properties, and their foreclosure possibilities. It's only now that this crisis exists, that folks are going back and culling the databases, oh yeah, the renters, they're just looked over, because it wasn't an issue.

Chicago-area housing advocates say they're in data catch-up mode, now. Several are going through old numbers to see how many rental units left the market. One group says it should have a report ready this summer.