The University of Arizona Southwest Institute for Research on Women has released its thirty-fifth update to its report on Housing Insecurity Indicators and Potential Homelessness Estimates for Arizona and Pima County. This report measures current housing insecurity with newer census data.
The most recent update to the report includes many indicators of concern worth noting. Without further analysis the causes of this locally are unclear, but the prime suspects are rising rents and the lingering aftermaths of the pandemic for the household budgets of lower-income households (via death, illness, and changes in employment and caretaking responsibilities).
- A substantial erosion in financial position of renter households in recent months
- In the most recent wave, collected June 29th – July 11th, the proportion of non-current renters rose to 13.3%. Over half, 54%, of these non-current Arizona renters see eviction in the next two months as somewhat or very likely.
- This survey indicates that the majority of Arizona renters who are behind on their rent, 66%, are only 1 or 2 months behind on their payments. This is substantially worse relative to the previous survey wave where this proportion was 93% of non-current AZ renters.
- Rents continue to rise in Tucson with measures of average and median rent increasing 31-41% over the past two years:
- And the average rents of studio and 1-bedroom apartments have been increasing faster than larger units, contributing to the declining stock of affordable housing.
- 73% of Arizona renters reported an increase in their monthly rent in the last year and 59% reported an increase of $100 or more. This indicates that most renters are being directly impacted by rising rent prices in Arizona.
- Eviction filings have been rising since April, and June had the largest monthly count of eviction filings observed since January of 2021. Generally, a falling unemployment rate is usually associated with reductions in eviction filings, but here we observe rising eviction filings in the context of very low and stable unemployment.
- Racial/ethnic disparities in financial strain have increased in measures of households not being current on rental payments and experiencing difficulty meeting spending needs:
- Individuals (nationwide) reporting either a lot of difficulty or no ability to walk, see, hear, or concentrate also are disproportionately likely to report being behind on rent payments. It appears that members of historically marginalized groups (especially people living with disabilities) are not benefiting from the improving economy as quickly on average as other demographic groups.