Phoenix Suburbia More Popular Than Ever among Renters

Rent Cafe

The rental market has been building up in Phoenix suburbs, as there are now more than 582,000 renters living here, representing a 36% increase during the last decade. This change is well above the national average since, between 2010 and 2019, the number of suburban renters in the U.S. grew by 22%.

The very definition of suburban living has been rewritten throughout the last decade as suburbs in the nation’s 50 largest metros gained 4.7 million people since 2010 — a whopping 79% of them renters — according to the latest U.S. Census data. This led to renters becoming the majority in 103 suburbs that were previously homeowner territory in the last decade.

The rental market in Phoenix suburbs has been picking up as well, despite being communities dominated by homeowners. Top of the list are the suburbs of El Mirage, Sun City and Scottsdale, which registered the highest increase in share of renters.

Phoenix only has one renter-majority suburb, which is Tempe, home to Arizona State University. Conveniently located between the core city of Phoenix and the rest of the East Valley, Tempe stands out as a community of 59% renters and that has been renter majority since before 2010.

El Mirage has the largest increase in renter share

Among the Phoenix suburban areas, El Mirage is the one that registered the fastest growth in renter share. In 2019 there were 39% more renters living here than there were at the beginning of the decade. This suburb is quickly becoming a preferred place to live in, as it has a low cost of living and a great quality of life, perfect for both families and retirees.

Annually rated among the nation’s most desirable communities, Scottsdale is continually driving more and more renters in search for the quiet and safe suburban living. The suburb has the third fastest growing share of renters, a 23% increase between 2010 and 2019, while 32% of its population is renting the suburban lifestyle.

Closing in on the renter majority threshold are Avondale and Glendale, both with a renter population share of 43%.  Avondale grew from 36%, while Glendale had a similar rise, from 37%.

Preferred by a large number of retirees, Sun City saw an impressive jump in renter share in the past decade, 26%, growing from a 14% renter population in 2010 to 18% in 2019. Even if Sun City’s population has the lowest percentage of renters, this community registered the second largest renter share growth in Phoenix metro, after El Mirage.

The number of renters living in the suburbs is expected to keep rising. According to Dr. Kenneth Laundra, associate professor of sociology at Millikin University, many people will take advantage of the flexibility that remote work offers in the post-COVID era — to the benefit of the suburbs closest to urban areas.

“With the increase in remote work, short-term projects and ‘side hustles,’ there’s every reason to believe that the future will be a more transitory, migratory existence. Most of this migration will be toward cities and urban landscapes, where even the suburbs will cluster most closely to urban areas,” he said.

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