Despite uncertainty surrounding the passage of a second round of stimulus aid and the outcome of the presidential election, October was a strong month for multifamily rent collections.
The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) reported that 94.6% of the 11.4 million households in its monthly survey fully or partially paid their rents by Oct. 27. This exceeded September’s collections rate for the same period by 2.4 percentage points, and was only 1.3 percentage points below the 95.9% reported by Oct. 27, 2019. However, the October 2020 result was the highest rate by the fourth week of any month this year since NMHC began publishing its rent tracker in April.
Multifamily properties have consistently posted relatively solid results through the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs and the unemployment rate skyrocketed as high as 14.7%, rent collections by the fourth week of each month since April has never dropped below 91%, and the results were only a few percentage points shy of similar periods in 2019.
The increased rent collections rate comes on the heels of another expectation-beating report: apartment leasing had an exceptional third quarter. There were 146,500 net new leases for apartments throughout the country in the third quarter, more than quadrupling nationwide leasing activity in the second quarter, according to RealPage, Inc. Additionally, the nation’s economy is recovering swiftly as gross domestic product rose at an annualized pace of 33.1% in the third quarter.
The first round of government stimulus aid from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act played a role in bolstering the multifamily industry during the economic fallout of the pandemic. Although a new stimulus package has been deliberated by both chambers of Congress for months, nothing concrete has been agreed upon. However, there is optimism that with election season behind us, Congress will resume talks for a new stimulus package, which could potentially be a tailwind for the apartment sector. Nevertheless, multifamily has consistently shown resilience to the turbulent financial environment this year, and the recent positive rent collection result adds optimism for the industry’s future.