Sparked by pandemic-induced changes in household routines and use of living space, home improvement and repair spending soared to new heights in 2022, reaching an estimated $567 billion. Despite this enormous investment, the nation’s homes are aging and in growing need of major replacements, and for many older and lower-income homeowners, the burden of repair costs threatens their health and safety, as well as affordability.
After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States in March 2020, there was a spike in the number of people moving—both permanently and temporarily—and a subsequent increase in popular narratives about a mass urban exodus or even a ‘Great Reshuffle.’ It was not uncommon to see media stories about flight from large, dense cities like New York and San Francisco, or about the explosive growth in vacation towns and rural areas. However, these narratives conflicted with emerging data on residential mobility, which showed that after the spike in moves in early 2020 mobility levels reverted to pre-pandemic trends and continued a long-term decline. This research brief uses several data sources to illustrate the nuances of changes in mobility over the past several years. It concludes that there was an acceleration of the pre-pandemic trend of moving to lower-cost states, as well as the trend of moving to suburban counties and smaller metropolitan areas. However, mobility rates fell overall during the pandemic due to a continued decrease in local mobility rates.
Dr. Martín recently testified in a House Financial Services Committee hearing, "How Do We Encourage Greater Flood Insurance Coverage in America?". He reviewed the challenges facing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in this moment, when the unwritten contract between insurers and government is being extensively rewritten. His testimony identifies six fundamental challenges to the widespread adoption of flood insurance, each of which provides an opportunity for federal intervention.