Sep 20, 2022 - News

Phoenix plans to build affordable housing on vacant city land

Illustration of a very tall Nextdoor icon house with scaffolding.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The city of Phoenix is looking to build affordable housing on vacant or underutilized land it owns to bring down building costs and make a dent in the region's growing housing shortage.

  • This is part of the city's Housing Phoenix Plan, which aims to create or preserve 50,000 homes by 2030.

Why it matters: The housing shortage has created a serious supply problem that's driven the average apartment rent to about $1,600 per month, pricing out middle- and low-income families.

What's happening: City staff identified 150 parcels that are ripe for housing development.

  • The city council approved the list late last month, and staff plans to start soliciting proposals for affordable or mixed-income housing projects later this year.
  • The sites range from single-family home lots to large chunks of land that could house apartment complexes.
  • Deputy housing director Samantha Keating tells Axios Phoenix that developers have already expressed interest in some of the land.

How it works: One of the major expenses of home building is the cost of land, which has exploded in metro Phoenix recently.

  • Since the city already owns the land, it will bring down the total building costs, which the officials hope will incentivize developers to build affordable or workforce housing.

What they're saying: "We want to have affordable housing throughout our city," Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said during a council meeting last month.

  • She noted that the private sector is also ramping up development.
  • There's been a 64% increase in the number of multifamily permits issued in the past year, she said.

Go deeper: How Phoenix became unaffordable and what's next


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