ASU panel talks housing crisis, some say regulation is needed

“We can no longer believe the market is going to take care of this,” ASU Associate Professor Rashad Shabazz says.
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 9:16 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- It’s no secret that the Valley’s population is exploding. And as more people choose to make Arizona home, there needs to be a way to ensure that those who have lived in our great state can remain here affordably while allowing newcomers to thrive.

Arizona State University Associate Professor Rashad Shabazz joined Good Morning Arizona to discuss what state and local leaders should do to combat the affordability crisis. He recently moderated a panel by the university’s “Project Humanities,” an initiative aimed at giving a voice to critical community issues across disciplines.

“We can no longer believe the market is going to take care of this,” Shabazz said. “We can’t have all housing be market-driven. That’s not working, and it hasn’t worked at the beginning. The belief the market is going to correct itself, is going to be the savior, that’s the reason we’re here in the first place.”

According to Redfin, the median price of a home in Phoenix spiked from $325,000 to $404,300 between January 2021 and October 2021. Meanwhile, average rental prices surged from $1,034 in 2017 to $1,537 in 2022. If the pace continues, it should hit $2,475 in five years.

Other experts say it isn’t just an issue of affordability but also accessibility. They say that lack of regulation is putting regular people at a disadvantage as a growing number of corporations buy single-family homes and then jack up rental prices.

“There’s no requirements at the state, local or national level for landlords to provide housing at certain price points,” said Camaron Stevenson, who works for Copper Courier. “Their only obligation is to get as much money as they can out of the house.”

Arizona’s Family Investigates recently reported that Wall Street investors and private equity firms have bought thousands of homes across the Valley and turned them into rental properties. As of February, one company owns more than 8,500 rental homes in the Phoenix area. With the tight real estate market, many firms increased rent prices.