COLORADO SPRINGS — In part three of ‘Overcoming COVID-19’, we highlighted the resources available to small business owners, plus a website that accepts tips, of any amount, for out-of-work service industry employees.
The series “Overcoming COVID-19” has given FOX21 Digital NOW the opportunity to check in with the city, local business owners, and economic experts for an in-depth look at how the pandemic is affecting us all, right here at home.
For part four of the series, we’re focusing on housing.
We’ve been adding up the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic from day one, and now, people across our region have serious concerns about the future.
And the financial impact of COVID-19 is something Tatiana Bailey, an economist at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, says many of us will think about for a long time.
“Especially people that had any type of impact in terms of not being able to pay rent or their mortgage, or [if] one member in the household loses a job,” said Bailey.
Laura Nelson is the Executive Director for Apartment Association of Southern Colorado, a regional trade association that works with owners, managers, and suppliers in the rental housing industry.
“Those who can pay rent should continue to pay rent,” she advised. “Evictions will still go through once this pandemic is over and the courts are open again.”
For renters who absolutely cannot make their monthly payments on time, Nelson said AASC is working directly with landlords, urging them to create payment plans for anyone affected by virus-related loss of income. Nelson said they’re also asking landlords to waive all late fees until April 30th, and refrain from any kind of rental increases.
“Currently our owners are not concerned with raising rents,” Nelson said, “they are more concerned with keeping people housed during this pandemic.”
And we may see a bright spot when this is all said and done.
“What we found as of our fourth quarter survey is that rents have flattened a bit, and traditionally if we do end up with our economy ending up in a recession, most likely rents will drop,” said Nelson.
Bailey agreed, although the timing is uncertain, the pandemic will certainly end. “There are so many different models and scenarios out there, but we do know there’s an endpoint,” she said.
Nelson also said the housing market may be protected, in part, by our area’s most common renters.
“Military is our largest form of renter in Colorado Springs,” she said. “So what we’re hoping or optimistic that we won’t be hit quite as hard as some of the others, as the military is still employed.”
And Nelson said she doesn’t think COVID-19 will deter anyone who was planning a move to Colorado Springs, from moving. Interest in the area remains high, as far as interest in living in Colorado, Nelson says she thinks if someone was planning to move here before the pandemic, that probably won’t stop them.
“As a matter of fact, one of our management companies actually leased 40 apartments this month,” she said.
Continue to follow ‘Overcoming COVID-19’ with FOX21 Digital Now for more on this pandemic’s effect on Colorado Springs.
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