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10 Reasons to Question the Predictions of an Eviction Tsunami

RealPage's Jay Parsons offers evidence that challenges the prognostications of a landslide of evictions following the expiration of the CDC’s nationwide moratorium.

Jay Parsons, RealPage Deputy Chief Economist and Vice President of Asset Optimization, in a post in the company’s Analytics Blog, “Ten Facts to Challenge the Evictions Doomsday Narrative,”  offers a list of reasons the narrative of a looming “evictions doomsday” is likely inaccurate. 

While he acknowledges an increase in evictions following the expiration of the CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium order, the numbers will be only a fraction of the 11 million some in the media have been reporting because of several misconceptions and data flaws.

First and foremost, the “doomsday predictions” are based on the Census Bureau Household Pulse survey, says Parsons, one that tracks both owner- and renter-occupied households. Several aspects of this survey lead to misrepresentations of data and disproportionate findings.

In addition to faulty data being utilized to support public policy, data surrounding residents and their changing circumstances also contribute to the expectation that eviction filings will fall far short of the sky-is-falling predictions.

Incomes have increased as the labor shortage across multiple sectors continues. Jobs have returned—even with a higher-than-trough (50-year low set in February 2020) national unemployment rate of 5.9% in June—meaning residents are willing and able to pay rent. Personal savings are up, while debt is down. Parsons cites the Federal Reserve, saying the savings rate is up more than 4% from February 2020, and credit card delinquency rates are at an all-time low.

Residents also view property managers in a more favorable light than the media is letting on, according to Parsons and data from J Turner Research, which tracks online reputation scores (ORA Score). Across the U.S., ORA Scores increased between May 2020 and May 2021.

Parsons also writes what industry professionals who are observing this narrative play out already know: “But a notice or filing does not mean an actual eviction. That process takes time, and often resolves amicably. When cases do go to court, they rarely move quickly – particularly with many local courtrooms backed up. Evictions will take place, and that’s an undesired outcome for both renters and property owners.”

Read the article in its entirety here.

NAA has released a variety of resources to underscore the damage caused by eviction moratoriums. To better understand the impacts of just 1% of renters missing six months of rent and the cascading effects on property values and local property taxes, read “The Impact of the Eviction Moratorium” (member login required).

Finally, because mass evictions are contrary to the survival of the rental housing industry, NAA has also created resources explaining the breakdown of $1 of rent. Misconceptions persist that rental housing owners enjoy large margins and can continue operating in the absence of rent payments, and this breakdown highlights Parsons’ point that evictions are a lose-lose scenario and are in fact a matter of last resort.