PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- All Brandon Case wants is a place for his family to live.

The Peoria dad has been searching for months for a decent rental home, but every time a potential property pops up, he loses out to someone else.

"It's rough because it makes me feel like I don't make enough money to support my family," said Case. "When it's not the case."

The Phoenix metro areas rental market has hit a breaking point with the number of people looking for a home or apartment, far outnumbering the units available. This year has seen the fewest units available in 50 years. Right now, in Maricopa County, there's is a 97 percent occupancy rate on rentals.

Payam Raouf is the owner of Arizona Property Management and Investments. Raouf said when a property becomes available, he gets flooded with applications, but only one will get offered a lease.

"We've got people calling, crying over the phone, people saying I'm going to kill myself, I'm going to be on the street if I don't get help," said Raouf. "I don't know how to help them, honestly. This is not just for us, this is all over the Valley."

Real estate experts blame the rental crisis on a number of factors, including, more people moving to Arizona, rising rent and home prices and lack of affordable housing.

Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus is president of the Arizona Multi-Housing Association. LeVinus said that a shortage of labor, a slow supply chain of construction materials, and a challenging zoning process, all contribute to delay in affordable housing units being built. 

"We're anticipating bringing in another 10,000 to 12,000 units into the market this year, and at least that for 2022," said LeVinus. "But when you have 200 people a day moving into Maricopa County, we just can't keep up with the demand."

So what's a struggling family or renter to do? There are still millions of dollars in federal aid available to offset rising rent costs. Renters can also hire a realtor, or rental finder company to help locate the few rentals on the market. Those services are often free to renters. For details visit

Zillow ranks Phoenix #1 across the nation for increased rent prices in July

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