Rent Payments Fall as Layoffs Ripple Through U.S. Real Estate

(Bloomberg) -- The economic pain caused by the coronavirus is translating to lower rent collections this month.

Just 69% of U.S. apartment renters made payments through April 5. That compares with 81% who paid their rent by March 5, a new tracking tool published by the National Multifamily Housing Council shows.

Leasing offices have closed amid social-distancing efforts, making it harder for some residents to make payments. Still, the trade group’s data, based on 13.4 million apartment units, show how quickly pandemic-related layoffs are rippling through the real estate sector.

Last year, 82% of apartment-dwellers paid their rent by April 5.

“The Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in significant health and financial challenges,” Doug Bibby, the group’s president, said in a statement. “However, it is important to note that a large number of residents met their obligations despite unparalleled circumstances.”

Real estate investment trusts that own apartments have collected 85% to 95% of their expected rental income for April, JMP Securities analyst Aaron Hecht wrote in a note.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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