Rental payments for market-rate apartments are holding steady from September, but down slightly from last year.
The National Multifamily Housing Council’s monthly payment tracker, which collects data on collections in 11.4 million market-rate units, found that 90.6 percent of those households paid some rent by Oct. 20. In 2019, about 200,000 more of those households paid rent.
In September, only 76.4 percent of those households made a rent payment in the first week of the month. That share ticked upward throughout the month, however, and by the end of September, 90.1 percent of renters had scraped together at least some rent.
The units that NMHC tracks do not include subsidized housing or rent-regulated apartments, which generally cater to lower-income renters. In New York City, those apartments have consistently lagged behind the national survey of market-rate rent collections.
Gauging the overall health of the multifamily market has been hampered by policy measures that seek to keep renters in their home, including federal, state and local limits on evictions, as well as forbearance programs for multifamily borrowers.
During the pandemic, the Census Bureau has conducted regular surveys of nearly 60 million rental households. In September, it found that 16 percent of those were behind on their rent, while 22 percent of low-income renter households were not making payments.
The future of the multifamily market hinges on whether or not renters can continue to make payments. Their ability to continue to do so is uncertain, as coronavirus cases increase across broad swaths of the country, renewing the possibility of more shutdowns and less economic activity. While many Americans wait to return to work, talks of another economic relief package have stalled.
“The importance of the initial support provided to apartment residents by the CARES Act is becoming increasingly clear,” said Doug Bibby, president of NMHC, in a statement. “However, that support has now long since expired and the savings households were able to build are evaporating quickly. NMHC continues to urge lawmakers to come together and pass meaningful assistance to support renters and keep America’s rental housing sector stable.”