Recent front page news stories by the Arizona Republic have brought attention to a growing number of evictions being processed by Arizona’s courts. An extremely tight rental market where demand is outstripping the current supply, especially in certain areas of the state, has resulted in significant jumps in the cost to rent. This is true with both multi-family rental units, as well as single-family homes. Rent rates have risen at least 5-6 percent statewide in the past year or so, and in some markets, it is not unheard of to see a 10 percent jump year over year.
This means that not only is it more difficult for prospective renters to find a unit that works within their budget, but current renters who had a unit that initially met their needs may find they are now living in an home that is no longer affordable after significant rent increases. As has been reported, over 45,000 evictions were processed by Arizona’s court system in the past year, leaving Arizona with one of the highest per capita eviction rates in the country.
Housing is a market-driven industry, as it should be. You will hear me say this over and over, so here it comes again . . . government cannot fix or address every situation, nor should it try. Yet, when government can work as a partner with others to find solutions to impediments, we should strive to do what we can. We are all better off as a society when people are adequately housed.
Later this year, the Arizona Department of Housing plans to introduce a limited pilot program focusing on eviction prevention. See our feature story on Eviction Assistance. If such assistance can show a demonstrable impact on averting foreclosures in the identified areas, the State may weigh the benefits of seeking additional funding to expand the program on a larger scale.
As always, we are working hard on the State level to address some of the state’s most difficult housing issues. If you are reading this message, chances are you are working alongside of us and for that we are grateful.