As rents increase, eviction rates lower than 2019 - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

As rents increase, eviction rates lower than 2019

April 14th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
As rents increase, eviction rates lower than 2019
Community
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By SanTan Sun News Staff

Evictions in March in Maricopa County hit a 10-year high for March but the pace of those legal actions is still 9% behind pre-pandemic 2019.

“There has been a gradual increase in eviction filings since the CDC Order expired last August,” said Scott Davis, public information director for the Maricopa County Justice Courts. “This is what the Maricopa County Justice Courts expected all along, despite dire predictions of a so-called ‘tsunami.’”

Still, Davis said, the 4,700 eviction cases filed in March meant “this was the busiest March we’ve had in a decade.”

A group of faculty and student researchers at Princeton University offered more analysis of eviction trends in the county in their blog, evictionlab.org.

Confirming that “eviction filings in Maricopa County fell sharply in April 2020 and have remained below historical averages,” evictionlab.org reported last week that a fifth of all eviction filings since the pandemic began have involved just 10 buildings. Of those, eight are in Phoenix and one each are in Mesa and Cave Creek, it said.

The eviction trends come at a time when rents continue to rise in the county at record rates.

Rent.com reported that nationally, year-over-year in February, rents nationally had increased 7.8% for single-family houses, 24.4% for one-bedroom apartments and 21.8% for two-bedroom units.

Rent.com is run by redfin, a Seatle-based real estate brokerage.

The overall annual increase in rent between 2020 and 2021 in Arizona was a staggering 49.4% for a one-bedroom unit and 45% for a two-bedroom apartment, according to the website.

For one-bedroom apartments, rent.com said, Chandler and Mesa had the second-highest and 10th-highest percentage rent increases in the country, respectively. It reported a 50.8% overall increase in Chandler and a 30.6% hike in Mesa. Only Long Beach, California, had a higher year-to-year increase in one-bedroom rent with 56.7%.

Year-over-year one-bedroom rent in Phoenix in February rose 8.2% – slightly lower than Tucson’s 9.2% increase in the same time period, according to rent.com.

Rent.com attributed a significant part of spiraling rent increases to decreased supply, illustrated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s report that apartment vacancy rates by the end of last year have fallen to their lowest in 37 years.

“Increasing rents, pandemic-related financial issues, rising inflation and a lack of rental options forced many renters to stay in their current homes,” it said. “A competitive housing market prevented other renters from becoming home buyers. That strained the apartment supply even more.”

It also said the latest vacancy rate of 5.6% isn’t too far away from the lowest rate in history – 5%, which has occurred only in seven quarters since the Census Bureau started tracking that rate in 1956.

For comparison, the highest vacancy rate in history nationally was 11.1%, which occurred in 2019  when the Great Recession sparked widespread foreclosures and empty houses.

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