GILBERT SUN NEWS | FEBRUARY 16, 2020
Dwindling home inventory squeezes affordability BY PAUL MARYNIAK GSN Executive Editor
s the inventory of available homes continues to shrink throughout the Valley, a new national study of rental housing indicated - finding either an affordable house or apartment is getting more difficult. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University said the typical renter is becoming more well-to-do and the apartment construction industry is catering to this growing market sector by building more units considered “luxury” rather than affordable. “Vacancy rates are at decades-long lows, pushing up rents far faster than incomes,” the study said. “Both the number and share
of cost-burdened renters are again on the rise, especially among middle-income households. “These conditions reflect fundamental market changes since the recession, including an influx of higher-income households, constraints on new supply, and substantial losses of low-cost rentals.” The conclusions in the Harvard study differ from the analyses by apartmentlist.com and zumper.com, which said Phoenix is still more affordable than many cities across the country – although both list Gilbert with one of the highest average rents. The issue of rent costs is becoming more significant in the Valley housing market as the inventory of resale and new homes continue to reach what the Cromford Report recently called “shocking” levels.
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“The crucial issue for the housing market in Greater Phoenix is a chronic and severe lack of inventory,” the Cromford Report declared in January. Two weeks ago, the report stated people looking for a home “unexpectedly got far fewer new listings than normal” as February began. “I am starting to run out of adjectives to adequately describe the current state of supply,” the Cromford Report continued. “It is almost (but not quite) unheard of to see supply drop between Jan. 1 and Feb. 1, but active listings without a contract are down
1.4 percent for the month. They are down a colossal 35 percent compared to a year ago.” It also had this to say on prices, calling current price trends “muted.” “You should not expect it to stay this way,” the report said. “The spring selling season has just started and by the time we get to June, a significant upward adjustment in pricing is likely.” It also said as demand for homes rise, “there is no sign of more supply coming
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