News January 13, 2021

Collections in Affordable Housing Rebound in December; Occupancy Tightens Across All Asset Classes

Latest Report from MRI Software Tracks Effects of COVID-19 On Market-Rate, Affordable, and Public Housing in the U.S.

Solon, Ohio – January 13, 2021 – Although uncertainty surrounding a stimulus package characterized most of December, rates of collections in affordable and public housing were surprisingly high for the month, with public housing reaching 97% of 2019 rates and affordable housing reaching 83% — the highest level for the latter class since June.  These are key findings of the latest report from Proptech firm MRI Software (“MRI”), which compiles data on one million market-rate units and 1.5 million affordable and public housing units in the U.S.

The December data also showed a continued tightening of occupancy across all asset classes, as move-ins outpaced move-outs for the sixth consecutive month.

Other highlights of the report, which includes both year-over-year (YOY) and month-over-month comparisons, include:

  • December lease pricing decreased by 2% YOY in market-rate housing.
  • New applications increased significantly YOY in both public and affordable housing, by 56% and 14% respectively. This represents a major shift in direction since the start of the pandemic, after which new applications trailed the numbers of 2019.
  • Aggregate concession values for market-rate housing increased by over $6 million YOY.

“We anticipated some of these results because of our involvement in the NMHC’s Rent Payment Tracker,” says Brian Zrimsek, Industry Principal, MRI Software.  “The Tracker’s data, which aligns with our own, reveals a slow erosion of collections in market-rate housing over the course of the pandemic.  Financial pressures are a likely cause, and they may be prompting tenants to seek out less costly alternatives in affordable or public housing, thus increasing demand in these asset classes and decreasing demand for market-rate units.  The decreased demand, in turn, has likely led to lower rents and more concessions from landlords.

“But as the December data shows, tenants in affordable and public housing made great efforts to stay current, despite the early-month uncertainties about a stimulus package,” he continues. “More and more people don’t want to risk eventual eviction, a bad credit rating, or a huge payment in deferred rent. Therefore, tenants have actively changed their circumstances with some downsizing, some consolidating households and some looking to ‘downshift’ to affordable or public housing.”

Zrimsek will discuss the December report, along with overall trends for 2020, during a webinar on January 14th at 2 p.m. Eastern.

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


(U.S. for MRI)
Rachel Antman (+1 212-362-5837)

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

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