Phoenix, Ariz., one of the fastest-growing metros in the nation, has sustained demand and home price growth. A recent Urban Land Institute panel offered insights on how a variety of product types are attempting to fill the metros' needs.
Panelists for ULI's “Future of Housing: Finding the Right Fit for Changing Demographics,” included Patricia Watts, senior partner and director of planning at Deco Communities of Scottsdale. She says, “The average rental household income is only $40,000 per year, and many renters are moderately or severely rent-burdened, with little or no ability to do anything but pay rent,” and Deco kept this high in mind, “We challenged ourselves a year ago to build a product that will rent for $1,000 per month,” an affordable rent for a single earning the average income, a couple earning minimum wage, or a senior on retirement income. Watts says Deco Communities will open 600 units over the next two years.
“Site selection is challenging, and we try to find entitled sites,” said Watts. “For us, time is money to deliver product as inexpensively as possible. We can’t control the time the city takes for approvals. We encourage cities to reduce the unknown and the number of levels of the approvals process for attainable housing.” She said that cities on board for attainable housing are using self-certified drawings—where architects certify that their drawings meet code—to expedite the process.