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WV Needs Options for Young Workers

Several apartment complexes opened near the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale in 2008. Photo credit: The Arizona Republic

By Jeff Gibbs for The Arizona Republic

The Phoenix area can expect to see more than 8,000 new apartment units constructed during 2015, ranking seventh among U.S. metro areas, according to a study published in December.

The major growth areas for apartments mentioned included Scottsdale, Chandler, and Tempe — but no city in the West Valley.

The West Valley has a significant inventory of housing for families, retirees and seasonal residents. However, it appears the West Valley may be heading towards a lack of housing for the very group we need to drive our economy in coming years, the young Millennials just entering the job market.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reported the United States rental market has expanded significantly since the housing bubble burst almost 10 years ago, and demand for rental accommodations among those now entering the job market is likely to continue to expand for the following reasons:

  • Many first-time home buyers who lost their homes in the last housing bubble still do not have the credit they need to qualify for a mortgage.
  • Many are having difficulty saving enough money for down payments due to outstanding student loans, high rental expenses and persistently low wages for entry-level positions.
  • Many young people prefer not to buy homes for the time being as they want to maintain the flexibility to change jobs and easily change location as their careers unfold.

Recently, several West Valley cities including Surprise, Goodyear, Avondale and Litchfield Park adopted plans for main street-type developments. But so far, progress in bringing those projects to fruition has been painfully slow with little to show despite a strong market for major construction projects.

If we are serious about attracting the Millennials to the West Valley we need for our future economic vitality, we are going to have to first provide them with more of the lifestyle they find attractive, including providing more of their residence option of choice: apartment living.

Read more at The Arizona Republic