A new report from the company Supporting unemployment was key to enabling people to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Phoenix American.
Describing the economic chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the report notes that job losses "have been concentrated in low-wage hourly jobs in sectors such as retail and hospitality."
“With low-wage workers more likely to be tenants than homeowners, the housing industry has adjusted to a wave of defaults. The expected disaster has not yet occurred, ”says the report. "By the end of July, tenants of professionally managed apartments had only missed rent payments by 2-3 percentage points above the historical norm."
Federal unemployment benefits helped tenants, according to the report, and additional unemployment benefits were "essential" to preventing high levels of default.
"The additional benefit expired at the end of July, however, and Congress is still negotiating whether and by how much to extend the payments," the November report said.
At the state level, there have been a number of bans on foreclosures and loan evictions, according to the report.
Apartment owners are not keen to remove tenants, according to the report.
"The industry is not keen to put itself in a negative light," the report said. “The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) has published suggestions for property owners on how evictions can be avoided. These include: freezing rent increases and late fees for residents who may document difficulties related to COVID-19, developing flexible payment plans for residents experiencing difficulties, and helping residents access government benefits. "
According to the report, there are arguments that suburbs will become more attractive than urban employment centers in the future.
However, when it comes to long-term demand for multi-family homes, the report says it is too early to have any specific answers about the impact of possible lifestyle changes triggered by the pandemic.
"One thing that remains clear is that multi-family houses have advantages that should help create stability versus other types of assets," the report said. "Multifamily has strong fundamental drivers that are only likely to deteriorate under extreme economic conditions."