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COVID-related unemployment benefits are set to end on Sept. 7, leaving more than 7 million Americans at a crossroads.

While word of an extension has not yet been made public, concerns surrounding the Delta COVID variant and the CDC’s latest eviction moratorium extension may signal a postponement soon.

But what happens when the deadline comes to fruition?

There’s a lot of uncertainty. As a career that’s flooded by practitioners, the ultra-competitive environment could scare away those looking for a career change. However, with minimum wage not enough to support renting or homeownership for a large percentage of the population, and with companies losing their workforce due to unsafe or risky environments amid a pandemic, those looking to re-enter the labor force may be attracted to a “pave-your-own-way” career such as real estate.

“The overall impact within the real estate industry is unclear,” says National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Generally, those who are unemployed will look for a new career, and real estate has been an attractive choice for many. However, given NAR’s record high membership and a fiercely competitive business environment, new REALTORS® entering the industry could be offset by those exiting, which could leave the overall count about the same.”

“There will be no meaningful impact on home sales and home prices just from ending unemployment benefits,” adds Yun. “Those receiving these benefits would most likely not be in the hunt for a home purchase. The most significant impact on the housing market will be from changes in mortgage rates and the creation of jobs.”

The area in which labor is sorely needed is construction. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, in June, construction employment lagged behind pre-pandemic levels in 39 states.

A rush of jobs in the market could help improve the inventory shortage and overall supply chain constrains currently slowing down housing starts.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to lizd@rismedia.com.

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