Monday, September 17, 2012

Metro Phoenix a seller's (and landlord's) market

Renters looking for houses in metro Phoenix are experiencing much of the same frenzy as buyers.

As reported on Page A1 today, new data from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service and real-estate analyst Mike Orr show the supply of houses for rent in the region is nearly as tight as the supply of homes for sale, and the number of leases signed in the past few months is at record levels.

High demand for rentals is another indicator of metro Phoenix's housing-market recovery.

Rob and Sandra O'Dell discovered how competitive metro Phoenix's rental market has become when they began looking for a house in July. Rob O'Dell is The Republic's new investigative reporter, specializing in computer-assisted reporting. The couple drove up from Tucson on a Saturday to check out a central Phoenix rental home and found themselves at an open house with 30 other prospective renters.

Open houses for rental homes is a new trend in metro Phoenix and evidence of the high demand for the houses. Dismayed and surprised by their experience, the couple spent the next weekend in Phoenix looking for a place to rent. But it was "frustrating and exhausting," Rob said. Most rental houses they checked out already had multiple applications from renters or were in bad shape.

The charts in today's paper and online at show the median rents for homes and ZIP codes where rentals are leasing the fastest -- data that have never been reported. To find the addresses of most rentals, prospective tenants should call a real-estate agent who has access to the ARMLS database.

"Rentals have become a growing business for the region's real-estate agents," said Chris Heagerty, a director with ARMLS.

She said the number of rental contracts every month now is almost half the number of metro Phoenix's sales contracts.

The O'Dells were on their way back to Tucson when they drove through the Coronado neighborhood and found a house where the owner was just putting up a "for rent" sign. The couple checked out the house and offered to give the landlord the security deposit then so they wouldn't lose the house.

"I wrote her the $1,000 check on the spot," Rob said. "We had our place to live in Phoenix, and I had one of my first stories for The Arizona Republic."

by Catherine Reagor, columnist - Sept. 13, 2012 The Republic |

Metro Phoenix a seller's (and landlord's) market

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