May Rent Payments Reach 80 Percent

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The just-released data on payments from NMHC come on the heels of 20.5 million new unemployment filings in April.

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May rent payments in the U.S. hit 80.2 percent as of May 6, according to just-released data from the National Multifamily Housing Council. The news comes after many in the industry feared collections would fall short of the high numbers from April.

The figure reflects a 1.5 percent decrease from the number of renters who paid through May 6 last year and is a slight increase from last month’s share of payments, which reach 78 percent by April 6. The data was pulled from 11.5 million rental units across the country that vary widely by size, type and average rental price, according to NMHC.

The data is part of the NMHC Rent Payment Tracker, an initiative that partners with industry firms Entrata, MRI Software, RealPage, ResMan and Yardi.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Rent Relief Sought From Congress

The rent figures come on the same day as the release of the April jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which revealed that a staggering 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs in April, taking the unemployment rate to 14.7 percent, the highest number since the Great Depression.

“Despite the fact that over twenty million people lost their jobs in April, for the second month in a row, we are seeing evidence that apartment renters who can pay rent are stepping up and doing so,” said NMHC President Doug Bibby in prepared remarks. “We expect May to largely mirror April, when the payment rate increased throughout the month as financial assistance worked its way to people’s bank accounts.” 

NMHC’s report also follows yesterday’s executive order from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extending the state’s eviction moratorium for another 60 days.

While the numbers are a positive sign for the multifamily industry, NMHC leaders continue to advocate for more legislation to provide relief to both renters and owners.

“The cascading effect of any rent gap is meaningful,” said Bibby. “Apartment owners have $1.6 trillion in outstanding mortgage debt. If they can’t cover their debt, we might see a wave of multifamily foreclosures that could rival the single-family foreclosures that occurred during the Great Recession.

As of May 7, just a handful of owners out of the 11,500 who have FHA-insured multifamily loans had requested forbearance on their mortgage payments, according to a senior HUD official.

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