GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The housing market in Arizona is continuing to change as more people relocate and properties are high in demand. Natasha Smith has lived in her Gilbert home for seven years. It's where her kids grew up and where her late husband last lived. Unfortunately, her landlord is now selling the house and she's trying to find another house to rent in the area--with no luck.
"Every process that I've had is, either the house is completely overpriced for what it's offering or it's gone before you can even get an application in," Smith said. Smith says she applies to a new property every day, and it's clear the rental prices are much higher than they used to be. "I have looked anywhere from 1,850 a month to 2,400 a month," Smith said.
"Just in the last 90 days, we're up about $75 a month (increase) on average on rentals, which is crazy. We don't see increases like that normally," said Jason Jeroux, the broker and owner of 410 Real Estate in Gilbert. "We've seen people getting, $200 to $300 more a month now if a tenant vacates and they put it back on the market."
Jeroux had a listing for one of his clients, and Smith applied. However, she received an email back saying that multiple other people also applied and now applicants have the opportunity to place a bid.
"Rather than just saying, 'oh, this person offered me $200 more, I'm going to approve that and just deny everybody,' we want to make everyone is aware of the opportunity and have a chance to change their terms if they'd like to," said Jeroux. "They asked three simple questions: how much can you give? How soon can you move in? And how long of a lease are you asking for?" Smith said.
Smith said she went in higher than the asking price, said she could move in ASAP, and would sign for a 2+ year lease. However, she says she was told someone still outbid her. "It scares me. I can't be the only person out there that has limited funds they can afford to put towards rent, car payments, health insurance," Smith said.
Jeroux says it's not unheard of for rental properties to start bidding wars. However, it is new to the Arizona market right now because of the change in supply and demand. He says, that he knows of, there are about 10 to 12 on the market right now.
"It's kind of a strange thing. I'm in the business of helping property owners get the best they can but at the same time knowing that affordable housing is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed," Jeroux said. He said those who did not win the bid were refunded their application fee, including Smith, who is still looking for a rental home.