Nearly 9 in 10 apartment households had paid at least some May rent as of Wednesday, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.
Through May 13, the organization said, 88 percent of the 11.4 million market-rate rental properties it tracks had made a full or partial rent payment for the month. That was only a 2-point decrease year-over-year and an improvement from the 85 percent of homes that had paid rent by April 13. More tenants paid as April went on, pushing the percentage of tenants paying at least some rent to 89 percent.
The picture painted by the organization’s survey is likely rosier than for all U.S. residential rentals.
“It’s important to understand that our metric does not capture rent payments for smaller landlords or for affordable and subsidized properties,” said NMHC’s president, Doug Bibby, in a statement. “These excluded properties are the ones more likely to house residents experiencing financial stress.”
And Jay Martin, executive director of small-landlord group Community Housing Improvement Program, said the country’s overall rental market is likely doing better than New York City’s.
“NHMC is at least 10 to 15 points higher than what we see in New York City on average,” he said.
The survey, which aims to measure the financial challenges tenants are facing and track the economic recovery, represents roughly a quarter of the country’s 43 million renter households. Renters make up about 35 percent of households.
Another analysis of early May rent payments, by Rentec Direct, found a slight drop-off from April.
Payments in the first eight days of the month were down about 2.5 percent from the same period a month ago, but were 19 percent lower than in the first eight days of March for the 620,000 rental properties using Rentec’s property-management software, the company said.
Rentec also reported receiving 15 percent more applications in April than usual from property managers for online rent payment — perhaps an indication that landlords were worried about being paid. Those requests have leveled off in May, however.
May’s statistics come in the wake of the April unemployment rate hitting a record 14.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number is the highest unemployment figure on record since the 1948 debut of seasonally adjusted data.
Georgia Kromrei and Erik Engquist contributed reporting.