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Coronavirus pandemic highlighted gaps in Arizona housing market

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — Affordable housing has taken center stage as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause financial strains among Arizonans and the supply of homes to decrease.

During a virtual state of the state conference hosted by the Morrison Institute at Arizona State University, Dennis Hoffman, Director of the L. William Sidman Research Institute at W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU, explained the pandemic and the financial burdens have affected housing accessibility.

“This is no ordinary recession there is winners, there is losers,” Hoffman said.

Those who work in food, entertainment and hospitality are some of the most effected. Due to low income, Hoffman claims it is harder for the group to qualify for home loans which in turn makes it harder to accumulate equality. That is also contributing to the growing wealth gap that exists among Americans.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Arizona has 30 or fewer affordable or available rental homes per 100 low-income renters.

On the flip side Hoffman said the winners of the situation are people who have been able to work from home, kept their job and as a result have saved large amounts money.

“The winners in this pandemic are actually exacerbating the challenges faced by the loser,” Hoffman said.

He noted that the money saved by these people is then invested into their home or new homes driving up home costs.

As the economy improves and the pandemic is better controlled, Hoffman hopes the challenges of affordable housing will also improve but warns “we’re never going to fully recover until the virus abates significantly and the fear of the virus goes away.”

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