The National Multifamily Housing Council’s latest report on rent collections showing 77 percent of U.S rental households made rent payments as of June 6 is a sign of a “strengthening economy, a recovering job market and robust demand in the apartment industry.”
But NMHC President Doug Bibby warned that despite the positive outlook for the industry, there are significant challenges ahead as the nation comes out of the COVID-19 crisis.
In a statement, Bibby cited construction costs rising at “almost unparalleled rates” that are increasingly impacting the cost of developing affordable apartment homes. He also noted firms are finding it harder to find labor, which is further delaying construction of multifamily properties.
While Bibby lauded federal lawmakers for passing legislation that included nearly $50 billion in rental assistance funds, the national eviction moratorium remains in effect. The ban is set to expire June 30 and it is unclear whether it will be extended.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition is among the groups advocating that the Biden administration extend the moratorium until the rental assistance funds approved by Congress make it to renters who need them to pay back rent. In the meantime, some states, including New York, have their own eviction moratoriums for those impacted by the pandemic that will be in effect for several more months.
Bibby has previously called for the federal eviction moratorium imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be lifted now that the rental assistance is being disbursed and the economy is recovering. On Tuesday, he noted the continuation of the policy “will ultimately only serve to place insurmountable levels of debt on already struggling households.”
Rent Collections Data
The June 6 rent collection figure is a 3.8 percentage point decrease from the share that paid rent through June 6, 2020. But NMHC noted that this year, June 5 and June 6 fell on a weekend and may not be a direct comparison to last year’s figures. It may also not be a direct comparison to the May Rent Payment Tracker which showed 80 percent of U.S. rental households made rent payments by May 6.
The payment data was pulled from 11.7 million professionally managed, market-rate units across the country that varies widely by size, type and average rental prices. While the tracker is intended to be an indicator of resident financial challenges, it is also a way to track the recovery as well, including the effectiveness of government stimulus and subsidies.
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 properties, 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.