A strong job market is helping to boost renter confidence as we enter the third year of the pandemic, according to a new survey released Tuesday by Avail, a part of realtor.com®. According to the survey, 82% of renters said they have not missed a rent payment over the past 12 months, up significantly from 57% in Sept. 2021.
Looking forward, more than three-quarters of renters (77%) don’t expect to miss a rent payment in the next three months—more than double the 38% who said this in the Sept. survey.
“As the pandemic dragged on longer than expected, many renters struggled to make payments, as jobs in a number of industries including travel and hospitality were hard to come by. Even those with jobs grappled with pandemic-related work disruptions that left many feeling unsure about their finances,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist, realtor.com®. “However, we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. The job market has made a dramatic comeback and despite rising prices across the board, renters are feeling more financially stable and overwhelmingly confident in their ability to pay their rent.”
Avail surveyed 2,163 renters and 1,156 landlords in Jan. 2022 to get their thoughts on topics surrounding the state of the rental market. Many questions were benchmarked from surveys earlier in the pandemic to understand COVID-19’s impact on renters and landlords.
Rent increases are on the horizon
In line with this boost in renter confidence, most landlords are planning to increase rent this year. According to the survey, 61% of landlords plan to raise the rent on at least one of their properties in the next 12 months. The most common increase will be between 5% and 10%, which is on par with realtor.com®’s forecasted national rent increase of 7.1%.
Here is the full breakdown of landlords’ planned rent increases:
- Less than 5% (38%)
- 5-10% (45%)
- 10-15% (9%)
- 15-20% (5%)
- More than 20% (3%)
Renters and landlords don’t know where to go for help
But awareness around assistance programs remains low, with survey results indicating that neither renters or landlords know where to turn for help if they feel they can’t pay their rent or mortgage. Only 51% of renters and 71% of landlords said they are aware of programs created to help renters and landlords during COVID-19. Among the renters who are aware of emergency rental assistance programs, just 21% believe they would be eligible to receive assistance to cover missed rent payments.
“When people are unable to pay their rent, that often leads to independent landlords being unable to pay their mortgage, creating instability for both the tenant and the landlord. There are a number of programs available to help, but unfortunately the survey indicates that many people don’t know where to look for help,” said Laurence Jankelow, Avail co-founder and VP of operations at realtor.com®.
Financial counseling and assistance programs are available
In order to provide information and resources to those who need it, Avail is collaborating with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization in the U.S., the Housing Partnership Network, and Wells Fargo, on the Renter Advantage program to offer free financial counseling to renters in need.