Phoenix apartment rental activity surges back to pre-pandemic levels

Apartment rental activity has made a comeback to pre-pandemic levels nationwide, according to a RentCafé midyear report.

Looking at the first half of 2021, rental activity in metro Phoenix saw an upswing of 21%, compared to the same time last year, according to the report. That compares with a 13% nationwide increase during the same period.

There has been a greater increase of renters who chose to move to Phoenix, as opposed to those who preferred to leave, according to the study.

Applications show Phoenix exchanges renters with other Valley suburbs, as well as Tucson and Flagstaff. However, 35% of renters moved into Phoenix, through the first half of the year, while the increase in renters who left was only up by 21%.

The study also found that Gen Z — the youngest generation of renters; the oldest of whom turn 24 this year — saw a 56% surge in rental applications compared with last year. Young Phoenix renters outpaced the national trend, where Gen Z applications rose 39%.

Looking into the profile of rental applicants by income, the study found a far greater number of renters with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 applied for rent this year — 54% more than in the first six months of 2020.

Another study by Smartest Dollar looking at renter wage gaps found that the hourly wage needed to afford a one-bedroom rental in metro Phoenix is $21.37, when the estimated hourly wage for renters in Phoenix is only $14.24. Out of all the large U.S. metro areas, Phoenix has the 20th smallest renter wage gap. The renter wage gap is largest among coastal states like Massachusetts and California.

Meanwhile, Zumper’s latest metro Phoenix report revealed the 13 cities in the Valley with the fastest-growing rents.

Fountain Hills was the most expensive city, with one bedrooms priced at $1,710, followed by Scottsdale with $1,680 monthly rents, and Gilbert taking third place with rent growing 5% to $1,540 in July.

Glendale was ranked the most affordable city with one bedrooms priced at $1,030, followed by Mesa at $1,100 and Phoenix taking third place, with rent growing 2.7% to average $1,140 in July.

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