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Home / Business / Huge difference: The U.S. COVID-19 economy provides luxury homes for some people and evictions for others

Huge difference: The U.S. COVID-19 economy provides luxury homes for some people and evictions for others



(Reuters) In mid-October, when the temperature in Columbus, Ohio dropped near zero, the children lost heat. The gas in their apartment has been shut down and payment cannot be made. 8-year-old DaMir Coleman and his 4-year-old brother KyMir heat themselves in front of an electric oven.

In this undated handout picture, Kiki and Greg Kullman and their twin boys Cam and Kyle take a group photo in Columbus, Ohio, USA.Provided by the Kullman family/handout via REUTERS

The power supply is also set to disconnect. Soon, there may be no ovens, no lights, and no internet for online learning. The boy̵

7;s mother, Shanell McGee, has turned off her mobile phone and fears that she will soon face the eviction of an apartment with a monthly rent of $840. The run-down department consumed nearly half of her salary from her job as a medical assistant in a clinic, but she did not have a full-time job and no health benefits.

Kiki Kullman is only 14 miles northwest of McGee’s residential area, and it was the best year of her life.

The real estate business she runs with her family has just sold the most expensive house ever: a 13,000-square-foot house, priced at $4.5 million, equipped with elevators and a classic car showroom. In late October, Kullman closed her house-a three-story colony valued at $645,000, painted a solemn white, with columns on either side of the front door, which is for her two-year-old twin boys It is a pleasant place.

Columbus embodies economic fragmentation and makes the US coronavirus crisis more active.

Professionals like Kullman are booming, thanks in part to the Fed pandemic-induced policies that have boosted the stock market and pushed record low interest rates in industries such as real estate.

At the same time, for many low-wage workers, this crisis has plunged them into a cruel predicament, making families like McKees closed down, and they are already living on the edge of finances. Across the country, millions of people, including restaurant workers, retail shop assistants, waiters, bartenders, airline employees and other service personnel, are unemployed due to COVID-19 fears that will overwhelm consumer demand.

Economists call this phenomenon a “K-shaped” recovery, in which those at the top continue to climb and those at the bottom see their prospects deteriorate.

Ohio State University economic development professor Ned Hill (Ned Hill) said that the downward trend of potash fertilizer is “fat and wide, long and ugly.” He said that as long as the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States, there is no hope of returning to normal. In Ohio, COVID-19 cases have surged, and a record of 3,590 new cases was set on October 29. In Columbus alone, at least 643 people died.

Hill said: “People’s jobs and income have disappeared. They will not return until after the threat of death from the virus.” “That’s it.”

Columbus is located in the center of Ohio, between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. There are approximately 900,000 people. Ohio State University is the seat of Ohio State University and the capital of the state. Its employment roots in hotels, education and health, government, and professional and business services.

This mix makes it perform better during the crisis than other “rust belt” cities that rely heavily on manufacturing. The unemployment rate in Columbus in September was 7.5%, lower than the national average of 7.9%. However, like the rest of the United States, its frontline and moderately skilled workers have also been hit hardest.

The difference in wealth can be seen from the urban housing market.

For those capable, such as clients of real estate agent Kullman, low interest rates have translated into cheaper mortgages, allowing them to afford larger homes. Real estate research company Zillow said that Columbus is just one of the four American cities of Cincinnati, Kansas City and Indianapolis, and the average time to sell houses is less than five days.

36-year-old Cullman said: “It’s crazy to see multiple offers and all-cash bids for prices over a million dollars in Columbus.”

At the same time, housing is an unstable business for renters hit by the economic downturn.

In the early days of the pandemic, Ohio residents were placed in appropriate places. Due to local and federal protection measures keeping tenants at home, Columbus evictions have decreased. However, according to data from Princeton University’s Deportation Laboratory, there have been 1,774 deportation cases filed since September, far exceeding the summer. The Greater Columbus Convention Center is now a busy expulsion court.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a decree on September 4, prohibiting all evictions nationwide until January 1, to prevent a large number of new homeless people from contracting and spreading the coronavirus Virus, but these files are still released in these files. In the state of suspension, landlords cannot evict tenants who can no longer pay rent because their income has been affected by COVID-19.

However, the landlord does not need to inform the tenant of these protective measures and is free to file an eviction lawsuit. Only tenants who understand the CDC prohibition, are eligible for the prohibition and take legal action to claim their rights can stop the eviction. Of the 24 cities tracked by the deportation laboratory, Columbus was one of the few cities that did not deport after the ban took effect.

This effect can be seen throughout Columbus. Federal relief agencies raise funds locally to help tenants who are short of funds pay rent. Community advocates say that the food bank’s staples are insufficient and the homeless shelter is full.

The shutdown of utilities has soared to the point that lawyers from the Columbus Legal Aid Association have resorted to personal bankruptcy petitions, asking tenants to maintain heating, lighting and water conditions.

The Aspen Institute, a think tank, said that if the current situation persists and there is no new round of federal relief, there will be a risk of as many as 40 million deportations in the next few months. In a typical year, there are 3.6 million relocation cases.

“Almost Cost”

Even before the pandemic, McGee, now 29, was struggling financially. In 2014, she purchased the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu corner plot with a 22% equity. She said that garbage trucks stopped operating a long time ago, so she stopped paying in 2016. McGee said she offered to return the 176,475-mile vehicle, but the lender would not take it back.

In March of this year, McGee’s boyfriend cut off his job at a fast food restaurant during the prohibition of alcohol in Ohio, cutting their family’s income. In August, he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and the entire family must be isolated. In the same week, McGee received a call from her boss telling her that the lender had been ordered by the court to use 25% of her salary to repay the fines and late fees of over $10,000 she still owed the car.

In this way, she can get a take-home salary of $728 every two weeks. She couldn’t afford her son’s school supplies and had to borrow gasoline from her mother to get in her boyfriend’s car.

“It’s heartbreaking, doing everything at once,” McGee said, wearing rectangular glasses and a broad, relaxed smile.

She asked Paul Bryson, a lawyer of the Legal Aid Association, for help. Paul Bryson filed a bankruptcy petition in October, asking McGee to reopen the utility and freeze decorations. The court approved the petition, but the court did not approve it until McGee’s lender took away $1,023 of her salary.

Bryson said: “The poor will spend a lot of money.” “Even before the pandemic, after someone gets the decoration, their entire life will collapse. Now? If we do nothing, we will have a lot of people on the street. “

McGee’s auto loan company Columbus Mortgage did not respond to a request for comment.

Living dream

For years, real estate agent Kullman dreamed of living on Bedford Road, a coveted address in the suburbs of Columbus.

In the most luxurious neighborhoods in the area, luxury houses that can perfectly constitute a pandemic, as well as facilities such as his/her home office and spacious basement for online learning, can be sold within a day, and there are often multiple transactions. The cash transaction offer far exceeds the asking price. price. Cullman said that some shoppers submitted bids without visiting the house. The most desperate people agree to “no remedy” inspections, which means they will not ask for concessions if they find major defects. She said that others authorized “unlimited crazy upgrade clauses.” In real estate terms, this means that no matter how high the price is, they will beat any other offer.

“You have to give up your life to get the house you want,” Kuhlman said.

In August, Cullman ran the Cullman Group on Sotheby’s International Street with her husband, father and sister. She discovered that a couple living on Bedford Road was about to move. Before the house went on the market, she made a bid and the owner accepted it. The colonizer is next door to her sister’s house. Their children will share the backyard.

Kullman is aware of his good luck in the pandemic and the courageous help of the coronavirus to the most vulnerable people in the city.

Her husband has been in business with a landlord who is selling a house in the low-income Linden district of Columbus. Non-paying tenants in these properties have received notice of eviction.

“Today is day and night, what we see here,” Kuhlman said. “This is not what you expect from COVID. It’s sad, but it’s true.”

Reporting by Michelle Conlin in New York; Editing by Tom Lasseter and Marla Dickerson


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