rent suspension, eviction suspension, unemployment New York City residents, priorities, study

As businesses continue to lay off and furlough workers amid the coronavirus outbreak, the number of Americans seeking financially relief continues to skyrocket: 6.6 million US workers filed for their first week of unemployment benefits a new historic high— in the week ending March 28, according to the Department of Labor.

Real estate company PropertyNest conducted an recent survey among 1,007 New York residents ages 18 and older on which expense they would prioritize first if they lost their jobs, and only 40 percent of those surveyed said “rent” would be their short-term priority.

The majority of respondents listed a variety of other priorities, if they were cash-strapped, besides rent.

A little more than 30 percent said they would prioritize bills and medical needs. The third highest priority — accounting for 9.4 percent of respondents– was to stash the money into a savings for emergency needs.

Another interesting finding was that women valued paying rent and medical bills more than men did. Female respondents made up 56% and 61% of those who selected these answers.

As a matter of fact, all payment obligations were ranked higher among women than any consolation items like alcohol, toilet paper, or sweet indulgences.

Here are some other survey findings:

  • Alcohol was the fourth-highest priority for respondents at 7.1%, beating out toilet paper at 5.7% and sweet treats at 2.8%.
  • Alcohol and toilet paper were far more important to male than female participants. Men made up 77.8% of responses for alcohol and 68% of responses for toilet paper. Alcohol was the top third response overall for men (over savings).
  • Student, credit card, or loan debts were less important to respondents than saving money. Only 5.3% of New Yorkers considered this a priority–a clear difference from those who selected savings account or emergency fund.
  • 18-34-year-olds made up the largest number of respondents who ranked debt as their highest priority.

Previous Feelings About Rent

A previous survey that PropertyNest conducted in March showed that almost 40% of New Yorkers would not be able to pay the rent if they lost their jobs.

A follow-up survey asked Americans who they thought should receive rent exemption should a suspension is put in place during the pandemic. According to the PropertyNest survey results, most respondents felt everyone should benefit from a rent moratorium. 24.5% of participants selected “Everyone”, while 21.4% selected “only those who have lost their jobs or hours”, and the third most popular answer was “No one” with 15.8% responses.

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