January 2, 2024

Home affordability continues to shrink in Arizona

Buying a median priced-home could take more than half an average salary in some AZ counties.

360 real estate for sale File image of a for sale sign outside a home in the Tucson metropolitan area.
AZPM Staff

Arizona's home affordability crisis is getting worse in many counties, according to a report from real estate data company Attom.

All eight of the counties mentioned in the report were not considered affordable, meaning that the cost of a mortgage payment on a median-priced home would require less than 30% of the average salary. Those payments included the principal, interest, insurance and property taxes.

Rick Sharga, a former Attom executive who now runs the real estate market intelligence firm C-J Patrick Company, said Arizona is a microcosm of many real estate markets in the U.S.

"It's a combination of several years of astronomically high home price increases coupled with mortgage rates more than doubling a year ago. The unfortunate reality is that homes become less affordable for everybody."

Recent price hikes in Arizona began during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first county to become unaffordable was Pinal County in Q1 2021. Cochise County was the last to cross the threshold in Q2 2022.

The price hikes, Sharga said, were caused as those who were working remotely left more expensive markets, such as the Los Angeles area.

"That in and of itself would have been a problem for affordability issues. And then you layer on top of that the fact that mortgage rates doubled, and it was just too much for people even with wages improving to be able to handle."

Southern Arizona counties fared better than their northern counterparts, Cochise, Yuma and Pima counties were the most affordable in the state, respectively.

Some of the state's northernmost counties also had the lowest affordability. Yavapai County was the least affordable, requiring 63% of an average wage to afford a median home. Mohave and Navajo counties both also topped 50%.

A notable exclusion from the report was Coconino County, which includes Flagstaff, a market that has appeared on a number of other reports on the least affordable markets in the country.

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