Sep 8, 2022 - Real Estate

Phoenix's average apartment costs $1,600 per month

Average rent in select metro-Phoenix cities
Data: RentCafe; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

During the housing boom of the early 2000s, rent prices stayed relatively stable as home prices climbed quickly.

  • But the past few years, rents have risen almost as quickly as home prices, leaving few housing options for middle- and low-income residents.

State of play: The average rent for a Phoenix apartment is nearly $1,600, according to RentCafe.

  • Scottsdale's average is more than $2,000 and Queen Creek is just under $2,000.

By the numbers: As more people move to the Valley, the average income of Phoenix renter households has increased by about 52% since 2018, according to Colliers research.

  • Yet landlords also filed almost 6,600 evictions in Maricopa County last month — the most in a single month since October 2008.
  • Eviction filings have crept back up since the federal moratorium expired last August, surpassing pre-pandemic levels each of the past three months.

Between the lines: This dichotomy illustrates two distinct segments of the renter population:

  • A growing number of high-wage workers are choosing to rent instead of own, filling new luxury apartments in areas such as downtown Phoenix and Old Town Scottsdale.
  • A significant number of working-class people are unable to purchase a home and are struggling to keep up with rising rents.

Cynthia Zwick of Wildfire, an anti-poverty organization, tells Axios Phoenix that wages in Maricopa County have increased only moderately while rents have risen rapidly, and inflation is now eating up any wage gains working-class families have made.

For example: If a household consists of two minimum-wage ($12.80 an hour) workers, they make about $53,000 a year, before taxes.

  • The rule of thumb says that a household should spend no more than 30% of its income on housing, or $1,300 a month in this scenario.
  • Zwick says families used to be able to find prices they could afford in suburbs such as Mesa or Glendale, but now those cities have an average rent of more than $1,500.

What they're saying: "We really haven't invested in folks who are helping the economy run," she says.

  • Zwick says the region needs to find ways to increase wages so working families can keep up with housing costs.

Be smart: There is still some pandemic-era rental assistance available in metro Phoenix.

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