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Arizona’s Income-to-Rent Gap Growing

The Phoenix area has seen a lot of new multi-family development. Many new communities are aimed at high-income residences, such as the recently completed Alta Scottsdale, which features rents starting at $1,265. Rendering credit: Wood Partners

By Amy Edelen for Cronkite News

A new report shows Tucson and Phoenix-area renters have had to deal with a double whammy: Dwindling or stagnant incomes coupled with significant rent hikes.

The report, released last week by the National Association of Realtors, indicated the two metro areas are among those where the gap between rental costs and household income is increasing.

The association collected data on 70 major metro areas and analyzed household income growth, housing costs and homeownership changes in renter and owner-occupied households over the past five years.

Tucson ranked fifth for the largest decrease in income for renters aged 25 to 44 years old. The study indicated income dropped about 3.5 percent. During the same time period, the area saw an 11 percent increase in rent.

Tucson has experienced a trend in luxury property building as well, which may fuel the disparity between rental cost and income.

The Phoenix area, which included Mesa and Glendale, saw a 2 percent increase in income during the five-year period coupled with a 9.8 percent hike in rents.

Phoenix rentals have been rising 5 to 8 percent per year for single-family homes and condominiums, said Michael Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W.P. Carey School at Arizona State University.

Nationwide, rents have increased 15 percent over the past five years, while the association estimated that household income has gone up 11 percent.

The association used data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, among other sources.

Read more at Cronkite News