Affordable housing has historically outperformed other asset classes during economic downturns. The pandemic-fueled recession has been no different. This is welcome news as many experts were uncertain about the stability of the affordable housing niche because this recession has uniquely impacted the service sector. However, through the pandemic, occupancy, rent collections and asset valuation has all remained stable.

"Affordable housing is one asset class that has continued to perform despite the pandemic. Our occupancy has remained strong, property valuations remain high and we have experienced minimal rent deferment," John Williams, president and CIO at Avanath Capital Management, tells "Affordable housing also tends to perform in times of economic prosperity and in times of economic uncertainty. In fact, in times of economic uncertainty demand actually increases. Throughout the pandemic, we have had over 800 new leases and 2,000 leases renewals, which we were able to complete all virtually."

At Avanath, rent collections have held strong because the rent is kept below the rent-burden point. "A few reasons for this are that as an affordable housing owner, most of our residents do not pay more than 33% of their income towards rent. On the market rate side where residents are paying a much larger portion of their income towards rents, these communities are being impacted much more," says Williams.

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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 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.