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Spain’s Supply of Rental Homes Jumped 52% in One Year

Source: Brookings Institution

Spain now has one of the lowest rentership rates compared to European countries, with 23% of households renting their homes. Around 70 years ago, renters made up half of the housing market, according to Brookings Institution. Now, of the 18.6 million households in Spain, fewer than one in four contain renters.

Over the last 20 years, the number of renters in Spain had actually been gradually increasing due to job insecurity and caution around banks granting mortgages. But the COVID-19 pandemic caused rental prices to drop significantly — marking the first drop since the 2009 financial crisis. Brookings states that “the supply of rental homes in Spain increased 52% ​​between September 2019 and September 2020.” 

Similar to other countries, Spain saw a loss of interest in renting during the pandemic — reflecting a decline in tourism and people’s growing desire to relocate to cheaper areas and have more space. The Spanish government responded with policies for “mortgage payment moratoriums, rental assistance and the suspension of evictions for vulnerable families,” notes Brookings.

City Populations Were Declining Long Before COVID

Source: Brookings Institution

U.S. cities with populations exceeding one million saw the largest decline in residents, reaching a rate of nearly -0.40 between July 2019 and July 2020. Of the 10 largest cities, eight declared a lower growth rate over the past two years than in 2018 to 2019, and six saw their lowest growth in the last decade, according to Brookings Institution. There were only 33 cities that reported notable growth upticks out of 89 cities.

Emigration from cities, lower rates of immigration from abroad and fewer births all contributed to the recent population losses in these cities. Although COVID-19 sped up the population loss, most were on the trajectory of slower growth before the start of the pandemic. 

Early in the 2000s, Americans were attracted to cities over their surrounding suburbs; however, this trend soon reversed due to the impact of the 2007-09 Great Recession. As the 2010s continued and the housing market jumpstarted, city-to-suburban shifts reemerged. It is unclear whether migration out of city living is a more permanent or temporary trend, but early data shows that urban interest may already be recovering.

Americans Increasingly Doubt the US Housing Market

Source: Gallup

Over 70% of U.S. adults — a record high — expect their local housing prices to increase this year. In April 2020, just 40% of U.S. adults predicted a rise in home prices, according to Gallup. The previous record high of expectations was in 2005 — right before the 2008 economic crisis.

As we approach peak buying season this summer, only 53% of Americans believe that now is the right time to buy a house — a mere three-percentage point increase from last year’s record-low. Demand in the housing market surged during the pandemic, driven by cuts in interest rates and a renewed desire from people to invest in their home life during pandemic-related lockdowns. Yet, the supply of available housing could not keep up with demand, which has led to bidding wars — and houses selling for hundreds of thousands over value. 

85 Countries May Lack Vaccine Protection Through 2023

Source: Our World in Data

Note: COVID-19 doses administered by country income group

More than one billion COVID-19 vaccines have been administered worldwide, but only 0.31% have been administered in low-income countries. In comparison, high-income countries received more than 80% of administered vaccines to date, according to Our World in Data. On this trajectory, about 85 countries will not have vaccine coverage until 2023.

Africa has the slowest vaccination rate of all continents to date. The United Arab Emirates and Israel have administered the most vaccinations, followed by Bahrain and Mongolia. Low-income countries are relying on COVAX, an initiative that is facilitating equitable access to vaccines. 

The worldwide initiative pledged to make two billion vaccine doses available for delivery by the end of 2021. Over 90% of low-income countries asked COVAX for greater vaccination coverage to help protect against new variants. However, COVAX will need more investment and contributions from donor countries and the private sector to speed up vaccine distributions.

Global Food Prices Hit a 10-Year High

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization

Global food prices increased in May to 127.1 points indicating the biggest month-on-month gain in more than a decade. This is 5.8 points higher than in April and 36.1 points above prices recorded the same time last year, according to the FAO Food Price Index, a monthly tracker for changes in global food prices. 

In May, prices for oils, sugar and cereals surged — up 12.7 points, 6.8 points and 7.6 points from April, respectively. Cereal prices especially are on track to reach record highs — FAO is predicting an output of nearly 3 billion tons in 2021, a 1.9% increase from 2020. International maize prices rose the most by 8.8%, reaching 89.3% above their value last year; however, they fell toward the end of the month due to an improved production outlook in the U.S.

The pandemic caused major fluctuations in the food supply chain — from a shortage in workers to price increases in raw materials. As the world starts to reopen, demand from consumers is rebounding quicker than supply itself. As a result, in the past year, grocery bills in the U.S. rose by 7% to 10% compared to pre-COVID bills.

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