Property management in the time of coronavirus: Weekly headlines & insights – 5/23/20

Robin Young
| 5 min. read
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Published on May 22, 2020

In this week’s COVID-19 digest, we take a look at the number of rent payments that have come in so far in May, and how they break down across different property types and metro areas. We look at how many Americans are unemployed nine weeks after businesses started to close their doors, and what concerns economists most about this trend. We give an update on the HEROES Act that came up for a vote in the House last Friday. Last, we share helpful resources for property managers reopening parts of their businesses and properties in the coming weeks.

Headlines: May Rents, Unemployment Rates, the HEROES Act & Reopening the Economy

90.8% of residents paid their rent by May 20. This represents an increase of 3.1 percentage points since last week, and 10.6 points since May 6. Rents continue to come in more steadily in Class A and Class B properties. They’re less certain in Class C properties, where residents are more likely to hold jobs that have been cut in recent weeks, and are less likely to have savings to fall back on. Rents are still lagging behind in high-cost cities like New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA, as well as in tourism-dependent cities like New Orleans, LA and Las Vegas, NV. Meanwhile, payment rates reached 93 to 94% in Denver, CO; Portland, ME; Portland, OR; Riverside, CA; Sacramento, CA; San Jose, CA; and Virginia Beach, VA.

2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total number of unemployed workers to 38.6 million since the crisis began in March. Though this is the seventh week in a row that unemployment claims have fallen, last week’s rate was more than triple the worst week of the Great Recession. “When 2.4 million is good, you know things are bad,” Wells Fargo’s economists have stated. Experts are concerned about the fact that businesses are continuing to lay off workers at a steady clip more than two months into the crisis, and are failing to hire workers back as states move to reopen their economies.

The HEROES Act has stalled after being passed by the House, though many agree that a second stimulus package will be needed to provide continued relief to workers and businesses. Unless the program is extended by Congress, expanded unemployment benefits will come to an end in July, potentially threatening Americans’ ability to pay their rent as they ride out the recession. In addition, much-needed updates to the Paycheck Protection Program could be on the table soon, though many multifamily businesses likely still won’t qualify.

All 50 states have initiated the process of reopening their economies, though the stipulations and timelines for reopening vary widely within and between states.

This Week’s Best COVID-19 Resources for Property Managers

Wondering how things have changed? Jump forward one week to 5/30/20, or jump back one week to 5/16/20.

Read more on COVID-19
Robin Young
Robin Young

As Buildium’s Senior Researcher, Robin leverages her background in social science research and interest in real estate economics to identify trends in the rental market. She combines intensive market research with insights gleaned from surveys of renters, property managers, and rental owners to examine topics like shifting renter demographics, the housing affordability crisis, and the transformation of property management during COVID-19.

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