Phoenix-area rental homes a red-hot commodity

Multiple indicators show demand for rentals has never been higher

By Rob O’Dell and Catherine Reagor

The Arizona Republic

Crowds of people swarming open houses. Multiple bids on properties from desperate home seekers. Palpable fear over losing the “right” place to a ravenous market.

Sounds like a typical day in metro Phoenix’s housing market, where buyer demand exceeds the supply of homes for sale.

But this frenzy is focused on houses for rent.

In the Valley’s most popular communities, desperate renters are submitting applications for multiple single-family homes to secure a place to live. Some would-be renters are dedicating as much as 20 hours a week to finding a new home. And when they find the right place, some feel pressure to offer much higher than the listed rent.

Greg Gale, a senior loan officer for Nova Home Loans, had only three weeks in August to find a new home. He launched a full-court press.

Gale applied to rent four properties, losing one after being a day late. He later found the property he wanted — a 4,600-square-foot home in north Scottsdale — and drafted a cover letter for his application, including his personal story and a promise to treat the house like his own. He included pictures of his children.

Gale admits he “pulled all the heartstrings” and believes it helped him get the house.

The unprecedented demand for rentals is fueled by former homeowners whose houses were foreclosed on or sold in short sales and now need a place to live. Some of them can no longer qualify to buy a home. For others, the housing bubble sullied the aura of owning a home.

Map: Metro Phoenix rental market

Continued: Also:

Meritage Homes stock at 52-week high as orders surge/The Arizona Republic


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September 2012