PHOENIX (3 On Your Side) -- Construction spending on apartment buildings is up across the country, and Arizona is no exception, despite the pandemic economy.

You don’t have to look far to find construction projects in the Valley.

"People, number one, want to be here," said Susan Kauffman, the director of strategic relationships for MEB Management Services. The company manages 24,000 apartment homes and they’re regularly talking with developers about renters’ needs.

"Workforce, affordable," Kauffman said. "People need a choice. Let’s be perfectly frank. And they need all different types of housing."

Across the country, multifamily construction spending spiked almost 16% in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Arizona Builder’s Exchange, a local market research company that tracks construction activity throughout the state, says spending in Arizona is up even more for a combination of reasons; Construction costs, including lumber, have increased. The number of projects is also rising.

Last year in Arizona, 78 multi-family projects that cost $5 million or more to build opened to the public. AZBEX expects 129 multi-family projects to finish construction this year.

"With the influx of people, it is important to build so that everybody has an opportunity to have housing," Kauffman told 3 On Your Side. "What we saw was a need for multifamily because the residential hasn’t been able to keep up either."

Since 2017, multifamily construction spending in the state has almost tripled to $3.6 billion, and it is expected to grow this year.

"There's a lot, but we need more," Kaufmann said.


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