Despite 95% of Rent Paid in April and May, Some Sectors Still Behind on Housing Payments

  • June 10th 2020

by Nena Perry-Brown

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Amid a pandemic-induced recession and record unemployment, people are still paying their rent at higher rates than expected. However, the bigger picture obscures how difficult it has been for those in certain industries to pay for housing.

The latest Rent Payment Tracker data from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) shows that although at least 30% of renters nationwide weren't able to pay anything at the beginning of April, payment levels were close to typical by the end of April, with 94.6% of payments made for the month (compared to 97.7% in April 2019). 

Similarly, 80% of renters nationwide made at least a partial payment at the beginning of May, but by the end of the month, that had increased to 95% of renters (compared to 96.6% of renters in May 2019).

A new Zillow report illustrates the disparities in the ability to pay housing costs based on the industry where unemployed renters worked. Nationwide, unemployed renters who work in food service or accommodations are behind over $718 million on rental payments. The healthcare and social services sector has the second highest housing payment deficit, with over $410 million in delinquent payments. Unemployed workers in the retail sector come in third, with an over $373 million deficit in rent payments. 

When examining housing payments for both homeowners and renters, the food service sector has the largest share of unemployed workers nationwide, and these workers owe $873 million in housing payments. Over 26% of those delinquent payments are from workers who are newly-unemployed.

In Maryland, transportation workers filed for unemployment more than any other industry, and they owe $3.7 million in housing payments. In Virginia, the most unemployment was seen in the arts sector, and these workers owe $1.87 million in housing payments. For DC proper, housing payment delinquencies are just above $20,000 for workers in the professional services and other (non-public policy) services sectors.

Zillow used April Department of Labor data for unemployment stats and American Community Survey data for income and median housing payment information.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/despite-95-of-rent-paid-in-april-and-may-some-sectors-still-behind-on-housi/16938.

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