In July, apartment rent collections decreased nominally. Afteran initial drop in April, rent collections have remained steadythrough the pandemic, with approximately 30% of renters unable tomake rent payments. In July, payments fell again with 32% ofrenters unable to make payments, according to a survey fromApartment List. Compared to June, non-paymentstayed the same at 19%, but partial payments increased from 11% to13%.

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"One theory is that more people are settling into arrangementswith their landlords and lenders whereby they pay what they caneven if it's not a full payment," Rob Warnock ofApartment List tells GlobeSt.com. "That said, a 2% month-over-monthdifference could also be chalked up to statistical noise. I don'tpersonally interpret that as a clear rising trend,necessarily."

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With such a small increase, Warnock says that he would considerthe market stable. "I think May June and July together show astabilization, which is not to gloss over the fact that rates arestabilizing at very worrisome levels," he says.

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However, this could also be a sign that renters are experiencingincreasing rent burden and beginning to struggle to make payments,particularly considering that the extended unemployment benefitsare expiring in July. "No doubt that some of the extra $600 arebeing used for housing payments, so yes I'm concerned that thisproblem will get worse in August and September, before it getsbetter," says Warnock. "More people are going to be falling back oneviction bans to keep their housing, but as we know those bans arenot in place universally. For many, the threat of eviction is goingto become even more real than before."

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So far, lower income workers have been hit the hardest duringthe pandemic. As a result, lower-end housing has seen the lowestrent collection, but that could change and the recession worsens."The data certainly indicates that both job losses and missedpayments are correlated with income, concentrating a majority ofthe housing insecurity among lower-wage workers," says Warnock."But as consumer spending drops, the financial impacts doeventually make their way up the income distribution and affecthigh-wage jobs as well. The financial risk is not evenlydistributed, but I think there are very few workers, evenhigh-earners, who haven't felt at least some concern about losingtheir jobs."

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While renters are struggling, homeowners are in a betterposition to weather the storm. "I think homeowners are in a morefavorable position at the moment," says Warnock. "I don't thinkmissed or late payments are as immediately threatening to homeownerhousing security as they are for renters. Anecdotally, my sense isthat banks are putting a lot of work into restructuring mortgagesso that homeowners don't default on them—for example, tackingmissed payments onto the end of a mortgage. That type ofarrangement doesn't really work for renters, especially those whorent from non-institutional and mom-and-pop landlords whothemselves have housing bills to cover."

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.