More than 76 percent of U.S. rental households have made rent payments as of Jan. 6, according to a just-released report on rent collections from the National Multifamily Housing Council.
According to the study, 76.6 percent of rental households made full or partial rent payments by Jan. 6, a 1.7 percent decrease from the same time period last year and a 1.2 percent increase from the same time period last month, when 75.4 percent of renters had made payments by Dec. 6.
The report comes nearly two weeks after President Trump signed a $900 billion stimulus package into law that extended the CDC’s eviction moratorium to the end of January and included a $25 billion emergency rent relief fund. The law also included $600 stimulus checks and an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits.
The payment data was pulled from 11.4 million professionally managed, market-rate rental units across the country that vary widely by size, type and average rental price. This week’s report is the latest in the series from the NMHC Rent Payment Tracker, an initiative that partners with industry firms Entrata, MRI Software, RealPage, ResMan and Yardi.
While the figures represent a large swath of professionally managed rental apartments across the country, they do not reflect many single-family and small multifamily rental properties that are less likely to be professionally managed and are more likely to have residents with at-risk wages, according to research from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.
‘A down payment’
Before last month’s stimulus package was signed into law, multifamily groups had been pushing for months for more relief measures, as worries over the pandemic’s impact on the industry continued to grow.
Industry voices have pointed to rent collection numbers that have been slowly trending downward since April; the fact that smaller owners have taken the brunt of the impact; and an estimated $70 billion in back rent that has been accrued since the onset of the COVID-19 health crisis.
“While there is light at the end of the tunnel with the rollout of vaccines, the country and the multifamily industry continue to face steep challenges,” said NMHC President Doug Bibby in prepared remarks about the latest rent payment numbers.
While he praised the “desperately needed” $25 billion in rental assistance included in the relief package, Bibby cautioned that more funds will be needed in the coming months to stabilize the industry and keep renters housed.
He characterized the latest federal measures as “only a down payment on the financial support that will be necessary to make apartment residents and owners and operators whole—Moody’s Analytics has estimated that back rent debt had reached $70 billion by the end of 2020 alone.”