All housing studies completed in Maricopa have shown the need for multi-family housing, mostly known as apartments. The City’s goal is to have 5,000 units. Current plans for apartment complexes will deliver only a fraction of that.
The addition of apartments for rent will likely create a little bit of a downward pressure on home rental prices, but not much. That is because the supply is still low, and demand is high.
Excluding vacation rentals, Maricopa currently has just seven active home rental listings in the MLS. The least expensive available home is a three-bedroom, two-bath home for $1,450 a month.
That’s a lot of money for a single person who just wants a one-bedroom but has no other options than a single-family house. The City often uses the middle-income example of teachers and police officers who struggle to find housing. People in this category may pass on living in Maricopa altogether and instead look to other cities with apartments, like Casa Grande.
So, apartments will help to increase our overall population and boost the local economy, without affecting the housing market much at all.
So far, six multi-family housing complexes, including two senior apartment projects, have been announced in Maricopa. Two more are on deck. Oasis at the Well is already under construction on Porter Road.
At least four complexes are planning a mix of single-family detached and multi-family units. In time, the addition of the rental homes in these complexes may affect the pricing on existing rentals, bringing more competition to the narrow market.
Nationwide, the availability of low-cost apartments has evaporated in this tumultuous year. Apartment construction trends still aim to serve the higher-income residents who are seeking apartment living for convenience more than cost-efficiency.
None of the multi-family housing developers in Maricopa has announced projected rental rates. In the Valley, the monthly cost of mid- to high-level apartments are surpassing the cost of renting a home in Maricopa. If home mortgages remain below the monthly cost of renting either a house or an apartment, home sellers still have the advantage.
In Chandler, rental prices have gone up 8% in the past year, with one-bedrooms typically renting for over $1,100. In Casa Grande, a one-bedroom is approaching $1,000 on average.
Rents on houses and apartments are trending upward in most mid-size towns and cities, but factors are complicated.
Maricopa apartments are expected to come on the market just as the economic impact of COVID-19 is lessening. So, the effects on the local housing market may be difficult to discern for some time. We just don’t know yet what the “new normal” will be for Maricopa housing costs.
Dayv Morgan is a Maricopa Realtor and owner of HomeSmart Success.
This column appears in the November issue of InMaricopa magazine.