Apartment rent collections increased year over year in April as more businesses reopened, vaccinations increased, and the U.S. economy showed more signs of recovery.
The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) found that 95% of households partly or fully paid their rent in April, according to its monthly survey of more than 11 million apartment households. Rent collections increased from 94.6% in April 2020 — when COVID-19 cases began surging across major regions of the country.
The strong rent collections in April corresponded with the recovery of the U.S. economy. Gross domestic product (GDP) rose 6.4% in the first quarter of 2021, which was the third consecutive quarterly increase since the pandemic began, and it surpassed the 4.3% increase in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The agency determined that the GDP improvement was a result of the federal government’s COVID-19 stimulus packages, an increase in consumer spending and the reopening of businesses.
As more businesses returned, labor demand accelerated and job openings recently hit record highs of more than 8.12 million. Due to stronger economic conditions, demand for apartment units was exceptionally high across various markets in the first quarter of the year, according to RealPage.
The reopening of businesses has coincided with a steady decrease in new COVID-19 cases, which were in a range of 60,000 – 70,000 per day in April — a steep drop from the highs in January. Mass vaccinations have continued to be administered. Nearly half the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, and more than 1 in 3 people have been fully vaccinated, or approximately 125.5 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. recently ruled that the CDC did not have the authority to issue a national eviction moratorium. The Justice Department has appealed the decision and the judge granted a stay on the moratorium. While the ultimate outcome on the CDC’s eviction ban does not impact state and local governments’ eviction moratoriums, affected households are still receiving rental assistance and housing services from more than $55 billion of allocated funds in the second and third stimulus packages, which are expected to continue supporting the multifamily industry.