New government numbers show that real estate companies have nabbed nearly $8 billion in loans from a pandemic-related stimulus program, making the industry the 10th largest recipient of the program’s cash.

The money is flowing to small businesses with 500 or fewer employees thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program is part of a larger stimulus bill, and set aside about $350 billion to help buoy up companies that are losing revenue while the U.S remains in lockdown. After a rocky start, the program started accepting applications from businesses on April 3 and from independent contractors on April 10.

The new numbers — which were published in a slideshow from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) — show that through Monday, companies falling into the category of “real estate and rental and leasing” had won a total of 48,940 loans that collectively add up to $7,963,204,190.

That amounts to 3.22 percent of all the PPP money that has been awarded so far.

The real estate industry also falls firmly in the middle, or 10th out of 20, for industries that have so far received money. The construction industry took the top spot, having won a total of about $34 billion. Businesses falling into the category of “professional, scientific, and technical services” came in second, with $30.3 billion.

Manufacturing, healthcare, and accommodation and food services round out the top five industries receiving the most money.

In total, the program has so far distributed about $248 billion via more than 1 million loans. The new slideshow additionally reveals that more than 70 percent of the loans were for $150,000 or less. The overall average loan size is $239,152, the new slideshow reveals.

The PPP has been one of the most closely watched parts of the coronavirus stimulus package, particularly within the real estate industry. The program allows small businesses to get up to 2.5 times their monthly payroll and, significantly, doesn’t require borrowers to return the money as long as they use most of it to pay employees.

However, the program has also been consistently plagued by confusion and a lack of information. Those issues have been especially pronounced for contract workers, who haven’t traditionally qualified for things like unemployment but can get PPP loans. There have also been many reports of people applying for PPP loans, but not hearing back from their lenders.

Not all of these problems have so far been addressed. But the new numbers in the SBA’s slideshow demonstrate that at least some companies have begun to get their cash.

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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