News September 14, 2020

Multifamily Leasing Concessions Reached New High in August; Pricing Pressures and Elevated Card Payment Volumes Continue

Latest Report from MRI Software Tracks Effects of COVID-19 on Market-Rate Housing Throughout the U.S.

Solon, Ohio – September 14, 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic continued to present challenges to the multifamily industry in August. That’s the latest assessment from Proptech firm MRI Software (“MRI”), whose data shows a new high for leasing concessions, accompanied by pricing that continues to trail 2019 by 5%.

The firm’s newest report compiles data from more than one million market-rate units (a subset of the total units managed by MRI clients) in January-August 2020 and January-August 2019. Analysis includes both year-over-year and month-over-month comparisons.

Among the most striking findings:

  • A 17% increase in average concession value compared to July 2020.
  • Lease pricing was 5% lower than in August 2019, extending a trend that emerged in July 2020.
  • A full third of electronic payments continue to be card-based.

“At first glance, the statistics may seem alarming, but in terms of future planning they’re actually reassuring,” says Brian Zrimsek, Industry Principal, MRI Software. “On one hand, they reflect the struggles of landlords and property managers in coping with the effects of COVID-19. On the other hand, they reflect best practices in expiration management, which tells us that owner/operators are responding strategically to the challenges. The concessions and pricing we’re seeing today are incentivizing shorter-term leases of 9-, 10- and 11-month terms, and the strategy is working. As a result, owners and property managers are ensuring strong occupancy rates at present while clearing a path to leasing activity during next year’s seasonally busy summer.”

MRI also found that renters are continuing to adopt technology with 50% more prospective renters using online applications compared to August 2019, and 30% more residents using online portals than a year ago. Meanwhile, the use of card payments remained popular, at 33% of electronic payment volumes, representing an increase of 92% compared to January 2020. As Zrimsek has pointed out in previous reports, card usage may signify problems with renters’ cash flow or be a way to gain credit card perks.

Zrimsek notes that MRI will continue to provide market reports in the upcoming months. “Owners and operators have the unenviable task of budgeting for 2021 ahead of them,” Zrimsek remarks. “They can’t simply factor in annual increases to their projections as they might have done in previous years. We hope that our data will help inform their analyses.”

MRI is hosting a webinar on September 22 at 2:00pm EDT to discuss the results of the reports in detail.

About MRI Software
MRI Software is a leading provider of innovative real estate software applications and hosted solutions. MRI’s comprehensive and flexible technology platform coupled with an open and connected ecosystem meets the unique needs of real estate businesses – from property-level management and accounting to investment modelling and analytics for the global commercial and residential markets. A pioneer of the real estate software industry, MRI develops lasting client relationships based on nearly five decades of expertise and insight. Through leading solutions and a rich partner ecosystem, MRI gives organizations the freedom to transform the way communities live, work and play while elevating their business and gaining a competitive edge. For more information, please visit


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Rachel Antman (+1 212-362-5837)

(U.K.) Platform Communications for MRI
PJ Chou (+44 20 3219 5837)
Zoe Mumba (+44 7725 832393)
or Hugh Filman (+44 7905 044850)

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