Collections for public housing reached 97% of 2019 rates, and affordable housing reached 83%—the highest level for the latter class since June.

By Les Shaver | January 14, 2021, at 07:09 AM

Even though money from the recent stimulus hadn’t yet reached the economy, rates of collections in affordable and public housing were high in December, according to MRI Software.

MRI says collections for public housing reached 97% of 2019 rates, and affordable housing reached 83%. That was the highest level for the latter class since June.

Collections increased as new applications increased significantly YOY in both public and affordable housing, by 56% and 14%, respectively. MRI says this represents a significant shift in direction since the start of the pandemic when new applications trailed the numbers of 2019.

The December data also showed occupancy tightening across all asset classes, as move-ins outpaced move-outs for the sixth consecutive month. Move outs were down across the board but fell 80% in affordable housing.

While occupancy tightened across the board, some of MRI’s indicators show market-rate housing struggling more than affordable.

The year started strong for conventional apartments, with pricing up 2% over 2019, but it quickly eroded over the summer, according to MRI. Apartment operators relied on concessions, and those steadily increased from September through December.

In December, lease prices fell 2% for market-rate housing. In all, aggregate concession values for market-rate housing increased by over $6 million YOY.

MRI’s data also showed an increase in new payment agreements in conventional housing, which allows residents to manage past due balances formally with their landlord.

This highlights National Multifamily Housing Council’s latest rent payment data, which found that collections for conventional apartments fell 3.4% year-over-year in December 2020.

The NMHC’s Rent Payment Tracker, which surveys 11.5 million units of professionally managed apartments across the country, found that 89.8% of apartment households made either a full or partial rent payment by December 20. That’s 393,952 fewer households than the share who paid rent by that date in 2019. NMHC data shows that 90.3% of households paid rent by November 20, 2020.

Source: Affordable Housing Collections Rebound in December | GlobeSt