How Valley cities are creating more affordable housing

By Rebecca Rhoades | AZ Big Media

Recent studies have underscored what Arizona homebuyers and renters have known for some time: The state, and particularly Metro Phoenix, has a shortage of attainable and affordable housing. The recent population explosion, combined with rising construction costs, a surge in house flipping and the public’s desire for top-of-the-line amenities and finishes, a phenomenon known as the “HGTV effect,” has resulted in a dearth of homes with price tags that are within reach for the average worker.

Much has been said recently about the need for homes for families at or below the poverty guideline. A report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that Arizona has the country’s fourth-worst affordable housing shortage; Phoenix also ranked fourth among major cities. Low-income housing is defined as “housing that is affordable to households earning 30 percent of the area median income (AMI).” The AMI is the income for the median, or middle, household in a region. It is used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine eligibility for federal housing programs. The AMI for a single person in Maricopa County is $33,000; for a family of four, it’s about $73,000.

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