The University of Arizona Southwest Institute for Research on Women has released its thirty-sixth 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. 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.
Since the last census wave, there have been considerable improvements. Those include:
- the proportion of non-current renters fell from 13.3% to to 9.2%;
- of the non-current Arizona renters who see eviction in the next two months as somewhat or very likely, 94%, are only 1 or 2 months behind on their payments. This is up from 66% in the previous wave, suggesting substantial improvement in financial position of renter households in recent months;
- a substantial proportion of non-current renters reporting having both applied for and received rental assistance;
- mortgage holders in Arizona appearing to be in the best financial position in this survey to date. Only 2.9% reported being not current on mortgage payments and of those that are not current 71% see a foreclosure in the next two months as “not likely at all”.
The most recent update to the report also includes many indicators of concern worth noting.
- Most renters are being directly impacted by rising rent prices in Arizona.
- Rents continue to rise in Tucson with measures of average and median rent increasing 34-39% over the past two years.
- 65% of Arizona renters reported an increase in their monthly rent in the last year.
- 49% of Arizona renters reported an increase of $100 or more.
- 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 see or concentrate 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.
- Eviction filings have been rising since April, and June had the largest monthly count of eviction filings observed since January of 2021. An estimate of the number of eviction filings in July suggests that the levels reach in June will be observed in July.
- 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.