Metro Phoenix is no longer leading the nation for rent increases.
But that’s little relief for Valley tenants struggling this year with rent hikes of $200 to $800 a month.
Rents climbed almost 30% across the Phoenix-area in 2021, more than in any other major city.
Through May, rents are up 4% to 5%, according to Apartment List’s metro Phoenix research.
Vacancy rates are inching up, a statistic that can help renters. But the rate of empty apartments is still near a 50-year low.
Rent hikes are one reason Valley evictions are nearing pre-pandemic and moratorium levels.
"(Eviction) filings are creeping back to normal levels in Maricopa County, and the trends show that will continue,” Maricopa County Justice Courts spokesperson Scott Davis said about the 15% increase from April to May.
Low-income tenants are struggling the most with rising rents and finding vacant apartments they can afford and qualify to lease.
Metro Phoenix is among the 10 metro areas facing the most severe affordable housing shortages for extremely low-income renters, according to the latest annual survey by the nonprofit National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Joan Serviss, executive director of the Arizona Housing Coalition, said now lower-income tenants must compete with renters making more money (and often the area’s median income) for affordable apartments.
The median income for retail and restaurant workers as well as teachers in most Valley cities isn’t enough to afford the average apartment.
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Glendale leads the Valley with the biggest rent hike since May 2021, at 22.5%, and it ticked up 1.4% since April, according to Apartment List. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the West Valley city is $1,220.
Mesa had the next biggest annual jump of 21%. Since April, the median rent for a one-bedroom in the southeast Valley city inched up 0.08% to $1,300.
Phoenix was No. 3, with a 20.5% increase for the past 12 months and 0.2% for the month. The typical one-bedroom in the city rents for $1,230.
Peoria posted an 18.7% jump to $1,530. Rents were up 0.08% in May.
Chandler had the fifth-biggest rent jump, with a 18.2% increase to a median of $1,540 for the year. Rents were up 0.07% for the month.
Scottsdale was the only Valley city to see a drop in May. The median rent on a one-bedroom in the city fell 1.5% last month but has climbed more than 16% during the past year. The median is now $1,520, lower than in Peoria and Chandler.
A growing number of Valley renters are giving up on ever being able to afford a house in the area because of rising rents and housing costs.
The Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University recently published “'You Feel Like a Failure': Experiences of Housing Insecurity in Maricopa County," using the words of anonymous focus group participants to help describe the affordability crisis.
The study found to afford rent on a two-bedroom apartment in the metro Phoenix in 2021, a worker needed to earn $24 per hour. However, many of the people Morrison talked to in focus groups were making $13 to $15 per hour.
The comments from renters showed the great angst so many are dealing with now.