As state economies around the country reopen – and the U.S. labor market showed surprising signs of strength in May – a majority of Americans in professionally managed apartments were able to make their rent payments this month.
About 80.8 percent of apartment residents paid all, or at least part, of their monthly rent as of June 6, according to data from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker. That’s only a marginal decrease – 0.6 percent – when compared with the same period last year.
It is slightly higher than the 80.2 percent who had made payments by the comparable period date month.
The data, however, only track the professionally managed apartment industry, which researchers acknowledge makes it less representative of how renters throughout the U.S. are faring amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“While our Rent Payment Tracker metric continues to show the resilience and strength of the professionally managed apartment industry, it does not necessarily tell the whole story, as it doesn’t capture rent payments for smaller landlords or for affordable and subsidized properties, and according to Harvard, more than half of renters with at-risk wages due to the pandemic live in single-family and small multifamily rentals with 2–4 units," Doug Bibby, NMHC president, said in a statement.
The Rent Payment Tracker accounts for about 25 percent of rental units in the U.S., though it tends to be more representative of higher-end renters.
While 42 million Americans have filed unemployment claims since mid-March, they have also been able to apply for expanded unemployment benefits – which, in some cases, may pay more than their jobs would have each week. That bump could be helping individuals make their rent payments on time in the near term.
The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University said that prior to the pandemic there were about 5.3 million renter households with at-risk wages that were burdened before the pandemic. It remains to be seen what will happen if unemployment benefits expire at the end of July and if some jobs do not return even as the U.S. economy recovers.
Recently, there have been some other positive signs in the housing market.
As previously reported by FOX Business, the rate at which people are putting their mortgage payments on pause has declined for eight consecutive weeks.
Other data even shows that the amount of Americans with forbearance plans has actually begun to decline.
There could be more positive news on the horizon for the housing market, as the U.S. economy added a shocking 2.5 million nonfarm payroll positions in May and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent. Wall Street had expected a loss of millions of additional positions as well as an uptick in the read on unemployment.