How far the coronavirus stimulus package will go for homeowners & renters across the US

Two-thirds of homeowners in Indianapolis could cover most or all of their monthly mortgage payment with a stimulus check, compared with just 8% in San Francisco.

The White House recently signed into law a $2 trillion economic relief package to aid businesses and individuals impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The stimulus bill, known as the CARES Act, will provide checks for as much as $1,200 to millions of Americans, many of whom will use the money to pay their mortgages or rent. It supplements other measures taken by the federal government, including a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for many homeowners and renters, as well as a mortgage forbearance program.

More than three-quarters of U.S. renters could pay one month’s worth of housing expenses with $1,200, compared with nearly half of homeowners, according to data compiled by Redfin. Of course, the stimulus checks will only go so far, as many Americans have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic and are unsure when they will be able to get back to work.

Below is a list of the 50 largest metropolitan areas, ranked by the percentage of homeowners who could cover most or all of their one-month mortgage payment, plus basic utility costs, with $1,200. Some households will receive more than one check, so we also calculated the share of homeowners in each metro who could pay for most or all of a one-month mortgage payment and utilities with two checks, or $2,400. Scroll down to see the same analysis for renters.

How Far Government Stimulus Checks Will Go for Homeowners in the 50 Largest U.S. Metros

RankMetro AreaMedian Monthly Mortgage PaymentShare of Homeowners Who Could Cover Most or All of Monthly Mortgage and Utilities With $1,200*Share of Homeowners Who Could Cover Most or All of Monthly Mortgage and Utilities With $2,400**
National – U.S.A.$1,56647%80%
1Indianapolis, IN$1,25466%92%
2Louisville, KY$1,26165%92%
3Birmingham, AL$1,28065%91%
4Memphis, TN$1,28664%92%
5Buffalo, NY$1,31463%92%
6Oklahoma City, OK$1,33062%90%
7Pittsburgh, PA$1,31561%90%
8Cleveland, OH$1,33161%91%
9Cincinnati, OH$1,36759%91%
10Charlotte, NC$1,38157%88%
11St. Louis, MO$1,39857%89%
12Jacksonville, FL$1,40457%88%
13Detroit, MI$1,40756%89%
14Tampa, FL$1,41655%87%
15New Orleans, LA$1,43954%88%
16Columbus, OH$1,46053%87%
17Nashville, TN$1,46053%87%
18Kansas City, MO$1,47452%88%
19San Antonio, TX$1,48651%87%
20Phoenix, AZ$1,49251%87%
21Orlando, FL$1,49550%87%
22Richmond, VA$1,50750%87%
23Atlanta, GA$1,52049%84%
24Raleigh, NC$1,53049%85%
25Las Vegas, NV$1,52948%89%
26Milwaukee, WI$1,55147%87%
27Salt Lake City, UT$1,60342%87%
28Virginia Beach, VA$1,65940%85%
29Minneapolis, MN$1,70637%82%
30Houston, TX$1,72736%77%
31Dallas, TX$1,77936%76%
32Miami, FL$1,81035%75%
33Philadelphia, PA$1,82933%76%
34Chicago, IL$1,84732%74%
35Baltimore, MD$1,88930%73%
36Riverside, CA$1,90030%74%
37Denver, CO$1,90228%75%
38Providence, RI$1,86227%80%
39Portland, OR$1,88027%76%
40Austin, TX$1,94627%70%
41Hartford, CT$1,91124%75%
42Sacramento, CA$2,04824%69%
43Seattle, WA$2,25717%60%
44Washington, D.C.$2,33116%57%
45Boston, MA$2,40714%54%
46San Diego, CA$2,57314%47%
47Los Angeles, CA$2,57313%48%
48New York, NY$2,70911%43%
49San Francisco, CA$3,1048%33%
50San Jose, CA$3,3716%27%

*Represents share of homeowners who have monthly mortgage payments under $1,500
**Represents share of homeowners who have monthly mortgage payments between $1,500 and $2,499

Indianapolis, where the median monthly mortgage payment is $1,254, ranked number one. Two-thirds (66%) of homeowners there could cover most or all of their monthly mortgage and utilities with $1,200. It was followed by Louisville, KY and Birmingham, AL, both at 65%. On the other end of the spectrum was San Jose, CA, where the median mortgage payment is $3,371. Just 6% of homeowners there could cover their monthly costs with a $1,200 check—the lowest share of any metro we analyzed. In second-to-last place was San Francisco, at 8%, followed by New York, at 11%.

“In Indianapolis, the overwhelming feeling is that when our local economy does come back, it will come back with a vengeance,” said local Redfin market manager Jake Johnson. “With the cost of living in Indiana already so low, many residents may use the government stimulus to be good neighbors by supporting local businesses, though workers in the hardest-hit industries, such as hospitality, may use it to pay their mortgages.”

How Far Government Stimulus Checks Will Go for Renters in the 50 Largest U.S. Metros

We also gauged how big of an impact the White House’s aid package could have on renters in each of the 50 largest metropolitan areas:

RankMetro AreaMedian Monthly Rent PaymentShare of Renters Who Could Cover Most or All of Monthly Rent With $1,200*Share of Renters Who Could Cover Most or All of Monthly Rent With $2,400**
National – U.S.A.$1,05877%96%
1Buffalo, NY$80994%98%
2Cleveland, OH$80493%98%
3St. Louis, MO$89193%99%
4Birmingham, AL$89293%99%
5Memphis, TN$89393%99%
6Louisville, KY$85093%99%
7Oklahoma City, OK$87992%99%
8Columbus, OH$94792%99%
9Cincinnati, OH$85091%98%
10Milwaukee, WI$88491%99%
11Indianapolis, IN$90791%99%
12Pittsburgh, PA$83291%98%
13Detroit, MI$92790%98%
14New Orleans, LA$97790%99%
15Kansas City, MO$96889%99%
16Providence, RI$95687%98%
17San Antonio, TX$1,00286%99%
18Charlotte, NC$1,04285%99%
19Jacksonville, FL$1,08284%98%
20Richmond, VA$1,10082%98%
21Raleigh, NC$1,12881%98%
22Nashville, TN$1,08181%98%
23Las Vegas, NV$1,13081%99%
24Hartford, CT$1,11181%98%
25Tampa, FL$1,12880%98%
26Houston, TX$1,09480%98%
27Phoenix, AZ$1,11779%98%
28Salt Lake City, UT$1,13379%99%
29Minneapolis, MN$1,09079%98%
30Atlanta, GA$1,16979%98%
31Virginia Beach, VA$1,14678%98%
32Dallas, TX$1,15277%98%
33Philadelphia, PA$1,13477%97%
34Chicago, IL$1,11076%96%
35Orlando, FL$1,21775%98%
36Portland, OR$1,32367%97%
37Baltimore, MD$1,26567%96%
38Austin, TX$1,30766%96%
39Sacramento, CA$1,33263%96%
40Riverside, CA$1,32163%96%
41Miami, FL$1,36062%95%
42Denver, CO$1,38860%96%
43New York, NY$1,43455%88%
44Boston, MA$1,50151%88%
45Los Angeles, CA$1,56548%87%
46Seattle, WA$1,56347%90%
47San Diego, CA$1,66842%86%
48Washington, D.C.$1,67040%88%
49San Francisco, CA$1,94432%71%
50San Jose, CA$2,28322%60%

*Represents share of renters who have monthly rent payments under $1,500
**Represents share of renters who have monthly rent payments between $1,500 and $2,499

With median rent at $809 a month, Buffalo, NY came in first place. Nearly all renters there (94%) could cover a month’s rent with $1,200. Cleveland and St. Louis, both at 93%, rounded out the top three. The metros where $1,200 would cover monthly costs for the lowest share of renters were San Jose (22%), San Francisco (32%) and Washington, D.C. (40%).

In every metro area, there was a higher portion of renters than homeowners that could cover monthly costs with $1,200, as rent is typically less expensive than a mortgage. In Seattle, for example, $1,200 would cover one month’s rent for almost half of all renters, while it would only cover a month’s mortgage for 17% of homeowners. Providence, RI showed the largest disparity, with 87% of renters who could cover monthly costs using $1,200, compared with less than one-third of homeowners. The metro with the smallest disparity was San Jose, where 22% of renters could cover monthly costs with one check, compared with 6% of homeowners.


The rankings for this report were determined by applying median monthly mortgage and rental payment estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey to each of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. This analysis does not include the $500 stimulus payments some parents may receive for qualifying children.

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