New report shows how unemployment benefits, stimulus helped renters


A new report from Freddie Mac Multifamily looks at how expanded unemployment benefits and federal stimulus payments have helped unemployed renters and their ability to pay rent.

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The report found that in 37 out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia, a median income renter/worker would receive less income from their unemployment benefits than if they were working. However, in well over half of states, a median income renter/worker who lost their job at the onset of the pandemic will receive within 10 percent of their lost income in benefits, essentially replacing their pre-pandemic income.

“The COVID-19 pandemic created huge shifts in unemployment and put uncertainty on working families about how they would pay their rents,” Steve Guggenmos, vice president of Freddie Mac Multifamily Research and Modeling, said. “And while economic indicators and unemployment levels have shifted throughout the pandemic, the availability of benefits and stimulus continues to play a role in how renters and the apartment market as a whole can weather the pandemic.”

Further, it found that, on average, between 30 percent and 40 percent of benefits would pay for a median-priced rental. Areas with higher median incomes saw unemployment benefits replace a lower percentage of their lost income.

Overall, the apartment market has weathered the downturn well, as Freddie Mac’s Multifamily Apartment Investment Market Index remained positive nationally in most markets. However, some local markets felt the impact of the pandemic more acutely and experienced substantial contractions.

Freddie Mac Multifamily is the nation’s multifamily housing finance leader. More than 90 percent of the eligible rental units it funds are affordable to families with low-to-moderate incomes.

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