A new survey indicates that one in four Americans were not able to pay their April housing bill in full, according to Apartment List.
The survey showed half of those respondents were able to make a partial payment to their lender or landlord, while the other half made no payment at all.
And one in eight Americans who had a housing payment due this month has not yet paid any portion of it. The survey collected 4,129 responses between April 3 and April 5 across a panel of respondents that match the gender and age distribution of the United States as a whole.
“In the span of less than a month, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely upturned normal daily life throughout the country. With shelter-in-place orders having wiped out millions of jobs, at least temporarily, there was significant uncertainty around what would happen on April 1, the first time that housing payments were due amid this ongoing crisis,” said Chris Salviati, Housing Economist at Apartment List.
“In a nationally representative survey, we found that one in four Americans struggled with their April housing payments – 12 percent of survey respondents made a partial payment toward their rent or mortgage this month and an additional 12 percent made no payment at all.
“These strikingly high figures are well above normal delinquency rates, and the situation could worsen in the coming months.
“For example, even among renters who paid their April rent in full, the report finds that 27 percent are “not at all” or “not very” confident that they could continue to do so if shelter-in-place lasts through June.
“Given that the pandemic is still rapidly evolving, with continued uncertainty around when and how shelter-in-place guidelines will be lifted and what the long-term economic implications will be, it is troubling that we’re already seeing such a pronounced impact on Americans’ ability to pay their housing costs. Although eviction and foreclosure moratoriums are shielding many households from the worst outcomes in the near-term, it’s unclear how things will play out once those moratoriums are lifted,” Salviati said.
Some April housing key survey findings include:
- In the wake of the coronavirus, a historic number of Americans were unable to afford their rent and mortgage payments this month, as 12 percent of renters paid only part of their April rent bill, while another 12 percent made no payment at all. A similar percentage of homeowners were delinquent on their mortgage obligations.
- One in every nine renters had their landlord or management company proactively lower their April rent. Among those missing their full payments, 45 percent of renters and 44 percent of homeowners were able to agree to reduced or deferred payments with their landlords and lenders, respectively.
- Delinquency is correlated with a number of demographic factors. Poorer and younger households had more trouble affording their housing payments, as did those living in denser, more urban parts of the country.
- The pandemic’s impact on housing affordability could very likely worsen in the coming months. Even among renters who paid their April rent in full, 27 percent are “not at all” or “not very” confident that they could continue to do so if shelter-in-place lasts through June.
- For homeowners, housing security is buoyed by greater personal savings. Homeowners are over twice as likely as renters to say they could afford housing payments for six months or more if their incomes were lost indefinitely.
- Consequently, many renters will prioritize housing costs when government stimulus checks get deposited into their accounts. Homeowners are more likely to prioritize other forms of essential spending, and are more likely than renters to say that they will put their stimulus checks toward savings.
Landlords working to accommodate renters
Responses indicate that landlords and lenders recognize the financial difficulty that many are facing in these turbulent times, and have in many cases been willing to accommodate flexibility with payments, according to the Apartment List survey.
In some cases, these concessions are even being offered proactively by property owners and banks.
- Eleven percent of all renters indicated that their landlord proactively lowered their April rent.
- Seven percent of renters asked their landlord for a rent reduction that was approved.
- Six percent of renters requested to delay their rent payments and had their request approved.
- Among those who were not able to pay their full April rent, 45 percent received some sort of concession, having agreed to a reduced or deferred rent payment ahead of time.