NMHC: April Rent Payment Rate Matches 93% of Prior Month’s Rate

For the second weekly release of the its Rent Payment Tracker, the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) reported that 84% of renter households had made a full or partial rent payment for the month of April by April 12. Captured from April 6 to April 12, the data was based on over 11 million market-rate units supplied by the tracker’s contributors—Yardi, ResMan, RealPage, Entrata, and MRI Software.

By comparison, 91% of renters in the NMHC’s survey had made their March payments by the same date the previous month, and 90% had made their April 2019 payments by April 12 the previous year. The latest numbers show that April’s rent payment rate is 93% of March’s rent payment rate. Caitlin Walter, vice president of research at NMHC, noted that many properties’ payment schedules have been adjusted for April based on renters’ circumstances, including payment plan needs.

“We are pleased to see that it appears that the vast majority of apartment residents who can pay their rent are doing so to help ensure that their properties can continue to operate safely and so apartment owners can help residents who legitimately need help,” said Doug Bibby, NMHC president, in the weekly report statement. “Unfortunately, unemployment levels are continuing to rise and delays have been reported in getting assistance to residents, which could affect May’s rent levels. It is our hope that, as residents begin receiving the direct payments and the enhanced unemployment benefits the federal government passed, we will continue to see improvements in rent payments.”

In this week’s NMHC Rent Payment Tracker Weekly Update webinar, the tracker’s data contributors were joined by two multifamily service providers, Camden Living CEO Ric Campo and Avanath Capital Management CEO Daryl Carter, to share their insights on the data from a company-level perspective.

According to Campo, Camden Living had collected 93% of its full or partial rent payments in April. The company had recently made headlines for offering a $5 million relief pool for renters, which was fully distributed within 16 minutes.

Avanath, which manages a portfolio made up almost entirely of Section 8 and affordable housing, has also collected 93% of its rent payments relative to March. Carter noted that senior communities, which receive income from Social Security and pensions, had made 99% of their payments relative to the previous month. The company has implemented a 10% rent reduction in April.

Both Greg Willett, RealPage chief economist, and Yardi Matrix vice president Jeff Adler said they consider this week’s payment results a “relief” given the record unemployment observed over the past weeks. Brian Zrimsek, industry principal at MRI Software, had expected a pickup given the adjustments payment offices have made in the past week.

Willett noted that these results can vary between market types. Class C apartments are showing some lower performance, but overall are not performing far off from Class A or B product. The greatest differences have been observed by geographic region. Nevada and Florida are particular areas of concern, given their high concentrations of leisure and hospitality employees.

Stimulus and unemployment benefits are expected to soften some of the blow for the rest of April. Carter noted May is “a concern,” while Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata, and Elizabeth Francisco, president of ResMan, said they are optimistic that the effects of benefit checks will carry to the next months. “I think we’re going to continue to be pleasantly surprised with how April plays out, and it’s going to position us to weather May and June in a better way,” Francisco said.

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