West Valley Growth Adds to Multifamily Supply Shortage

Credit: Arizona Republic

As the West Valley continues its rapid and expansive growth, cities in the area are running into the realities of an inadequate housing supply, particularly in multifamily.

Buckeye, the nation’s fastest growing city, has not had any multifamily units built since at least 2010.

Surprise and Goodyear saw 5% and 10%, respectively, of their delivered housing units over the last 10 years made up of multifamily.

While mayors and other officials look to increase supply, and with it manage demand so as to maintain affordability, an affordable apartment development proposal from developer Dominium Management was withdrawn in Buckeye due to lack of City support, and another in Surprise is on “indefinite hold.”

Housing market experts say that while adding apartments is one component in providing a diverse supply of housing options, merely putting up new multifamily development is not the only component.

Other potential uses include both subsidized and workforce housing, but income-targeted developments face a heavy degree of resistance from suburban residents and from some officials.

Mayors and other officials in the West Valley have expressed conceptual support for housing that is affordable, rather than merely income-capped, which usually targets residents making less than 60% of an area’s median income.

That vision, however, runs into difficulties with basic economics. Without a diversity of product and with a growing population to house, prices rise. As a result, developers tend toward building market-rate homes in both the single- and multifamily markets, which tend to be higher-end products demanding top-of-the-market rents.

Cities across the West Valley are implementing zoning changes and other incentives to increase housing development across types, but officials say options are limited as to what more they can do. (Source)

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