Valley rental market too pricey for some

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Experts say the median rental price for a single-family home in the Valley is up significantly over last year.

Right now the median price is about $1,600 a month. Last year it was around $1,300 a month.

"Be ready for some sticker shock," said Brenda Ryan.

Ryan is the designated broker for Arizona Premier Realty, and she says the rental market has become very competitive over the last nine to 12 months.

"When we do put a home on the market for rent ... we get multiple applications," Ryan said.

In addition, she says they even get offered more money for properties just so potential renters can secure a property.

Ryan says there are a few reasons for this trend.

First, the rental inventory is extremely low right now.

"Our current inventory for Maricopa County is about 5,600 rental properties. Out of that, only about 3,600 are single-family homes," Ryan said.

Part of the reason the inventory is so low is because investors are now trying to recoup their money from buying up foreclosed properties when the housing market crashed.

"During that time they had rental properties and now they're selling because the market has improved," she said.

With an improving market comes higher selling prices, which many people just can't afford, and Ryan says they are not getting much help from the banks due to stricter lending guidelines.

With many families being priced out of homeownership, renting is the next best option. But Ryan says with the demand so high and the inventory so low, don't expect prices to drop anytime soon.