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  • Alex Pettee, CFA

Apartment REITs: No Rent Strike, But Fears Of Urban Exodus

  • Apartment REITs - along with the broader housing industry - were firing on all cylinders before the pandemic, driven by highly favorable demographic trends and the lingering housing shortage.

  • What Rent Strikes? Apartment REITs reported limit issues with rent collection in April and early-May amid the depths of the pandemic-related shutdowns as more than 95% of rents were collected.

  • The magnitude of job losses resulting from government-mandated economic shutdowns, however, warrants a fundamental revaluation if these tens of millions of "temporary" furloughs become permanent layoffs.

  • Urban exodus? Ultra-dense metros like NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco may see lasting pain as residents flee to lower-cost and “safer” semi-urban and suburban markets, including faster-growing Sunbelt metros.

  • As one of the more defensively-oriented and countercyclical REIT sectors, we remain bullish on long-term rental fundamentals and expect the housing industry to be a leader of the economic rebound.

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