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Metro Phoenix renters grapple with higher prices amid coronavirus crisis

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PHOENIX — Metro Phoenix renters have struggled through the coronavirus outbreak, and yet their rents rose 7% in the past year.

Zillow reports the average Valley rent payment is now $1,454 a month.

“If somebody has missed a few paychecks, if they’re not getting that unemployment check yet, that is hard to meet,” Zillow economist Jeff Tucker said.

His group reports those renters’ industries — restaurants, hospitality and travel — have been hardest hit, resulting in layoffs.

And yet, rental demands are still high in the Valley.

“It’s been hard for builders to keep pace with rising demand, especially in parts of the country where lots of folks are moving and there’s a lot of interest to live there,” Tucker explained.

Zillow also found home values have risen 9% in metro Phoenix in the past year for the same reason.

“The overall supply of homes relative to the number of people who want to rent homes, or buy them — who want a home to live in — is the fundamental imbalance underlying all of this right now,” Tucker said.

He also believes some landlords are negotiating with tenants to keep some money coming in, and hoping their renters will find new employment to make up for late payments as nearly all of Arizona businesses have reopened.

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