Frequently asked Questions regarding the data of the NMHC Rent Payment Tracker
The data comes directly from five of the apartment industry’s leading property management software (PMS) providers—Entrata, MRI Software, RealPage, ResMan and Yardi. These software platforms help apartment firms conduct many aspects of their business, including rent payment processing. This dataset is based directly on millions of actual leases from thousands of apartment firms that use these five PMS providers.
All collected data is anonymized by the PMS providers and standardized for a high-quality dataset. The final numbers have been weighted to account for variations in the size of the databases provided by the data providers.
The number of units will vary with each data release based on changes to the number of occupied units for each PMS provider as units are leased or vacated. After adjusting our methodology after the first data pull, the number of units has consistently ranged from 11 million to 11.5 million professionally managed apartments included in the dataset. For the reasons stated above, the number of units will fluctuate between these two parameters and possibly slightly above or below. Please see the methodology page for exact number of units each week. For comparison, there are 21.4 million apartments (in buildings with 5+ units), according to the most recent American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. That makes this dataset one of the most robust representations of the apartment industry.
The dataset only covers conventional, market-rate apartments. Accordingly, it excludes subsidized affordable units, single-family rentals, privatized military housing units and purpose-built student housing properties.
The NMHC Rent Payment Tracker is a cumulative data tool. Every week, the PMS providers submit two data points to NMHC: the percentage of apartment households that paid their rent for a specific time period and the total number of occupied units in their data universe (see exclusions listed above).
Data is submitted weekly on the following schedule: week one: from the first day of the month through COB on the 6th, week two: from the 1st through COB on the 13th , week three: from the 1st through COB on the 20th and finally from the 1st through the last day of the month, giving us a monthly data point for the “percent who paid”. To recap, the “percent who paid” number will increase each week, until we reach our final “percent who paid” number for the month (see below for how partial rent payments are addressed).
When establishing the initial dates for the Rent Payment Tracker, NMHC wanted to track when rent was officially "late" and used the close of business on the 5th as that date. After consultation with property managers and data providers we were informed that a variety of dates are used to determine when rent is considered late, with some saying rent isn't late until as late as the 10th. In addition, those that use the 5th as their deadline reported that many people pay on the last day possible and that some of those payments aren't posted until the 6th. Based on this information, NMHC adjusted its methodology to make the close of business on the 6th the deadline for the first week. Moving this date also moved all other reporting dates by one day.
Yes. Partial payments or conversions of security deposits into rent (as some firms are allowing) are captured once, when the first partial payment is accepted, to avoid having them double counted. Subsequent partial payments are not captured in the data because the metric is “what percent of renters paid some/all of their rent” in a given month. Additional payments made by the same resident in the month would increase the total amount of rent paid, but this metric does not measure that.
For a variety of reasons, it is likely there will be more payments later in the month than we’ve historically seen. Many firms have waived late fees and are setting up flexible rent payment plans; different regions are being affected at different rates as the disease spreads; and the timing on the distribution of different federal interventions—unemployment benefits and stimulus checks may affect when rent is paid.
Having a weekly, additive metric provides insight into our residents’ financial health over the course of each month and, as the dataset ages, between months.
That statistic can only be captured after a month has ended and all the weekly data for that month have been collected.
Every apartment firm has a different portfolio. Some portfolios include mostly Class A properties, some mostly Class C, and others include a mix of property classes. Anecdotal evidence from the PMS providers tells us that the property classes are performing differently during this crisis with regard to the percent of residents who have paid their rent.
In addition, some may focus on urban areas while others have mostly suburban portfolio. Similarly, firms have different geographic footprints—national operations, regional operations, or just one city. All of this means that, based on the composition of their portfolios, they will have different numbers of renters paying each month than the overall Rent Payment Tracker. The Rent Payment Tracker essentially rolls up all of those individual company experiences into one broad national metric.
No. The NMHC Rent Payment Tracker only provides a national metric and is designed as a general benchmark to help gauge the depth of the economic crisis resulting from the pandemic. Some the data providers participating in this initiative publish more detailed information, including geographic breakdowns, of their particular datasets. We will provide links to those reports on the NMHC Rent Tracker website as available.
No. Just as we do not capture geographic variations in rent payment practices, we also do not capture variations by property type (luxury housing, workforce housing, etc) or asset class (A, B or C). As noted above, firms with different portfolio compositions are likely to have rent payment experiences that differ from this national metric. Again, some individual PMS providers may have more detailed data, and we encourage you to contact them directly.
It should only be used as a broad representation of what percent of apartment households nationwide paid all/partial rent for a given week/month. It should also be noted that given the number of firms that have waived late fees, it is expected that payment behaviors will vary slightly from “normal” times. Because of the variations noted above about different individual apartment firm portfolios and business strategies, the NMHC Rent Payment Tracker should not be used as a tool for investment or portfolio analysis.
This tool was launched specifically to provide industry-level data and insight in response to the severity of the COVID-19 crisis. The intent is that the tracker will sunset when the crisis has passed. However, it is difficult to predict when a recovery will happen (and this metric will help reveal when that recovery is happening).
The spread of COVID-19 has caused unprecedented economic disruption. Shelter-in-place orders, widespread business closures and millions of job losses are expected to have significant impact on the housing market writ large, but especially the apartment market. While it’s difficult to predict how many of the nation’s 40 million apartment residents will be negatively affected by this economic disruption, it’s clear many will face financial hardships.
This metric provides insight into how widespread the ongoing economic disruption is to the universe of professionally management apartments (see below). While we hope that this disruption will be short lived as the virus’s spread is contained and infections decline, until recovery takes place, it’s critical for the industry to have data to understand the scope of the economic challenges, the effectiveness of COVID-19-related policies and programs and, most importantly, a sign that the worst of the challenges are behind us.
The multifamily industry supported the federal government’s swift intervention to support those suffering COVID-19 hardships. We continue to advocate for additional supports to be put in place for affected residents (direct renter housing assistance) and businesses (mortgage forbearance, explicit inclusion in SBA loan/grant programs and more. We also put out voluntary recommended principles to support residents for apartment firms to consider on March 22. Similarly, we have also created tools to help apartment firms talk to their residents and to assist them in accessing federal resources being made available to those who have been economically impacted by the pandemic.
More information on all of NMHC’s efforts on behalf of renters and housing providers is available at our COVID-19 hub.
There is no formal definition of “professionally managed” apartments; however, there are several commonly accepted industry assumptions when the term is used. Generally, they are more structured businesses that provide professional management services and are distinguished from the small, mom-and-pop operators that manage a significant portion of the industry’s units. It is important to note that the professionally managed segment of the apartment industry, like the industry itself, is highly fragmented, with firms of varying size all participating.
The universe of data from the PMS providers will vary from week to week for a variety of reasons, including refinement of NMHC methodology as we work through the data analysis process, residents moving in and out of units, new PMS customers reporting data, and apartment properties switching from one Property Management Software system to another, among other reasons.