Almost 90% of New Phoenix Apartments are luxury, Requiring Hefty Rents Article originally posted on AZ Central on October 7, 2018 Metro Phoenix’s apartment boom is a pricey one. About 87 percent of all the new rental complexes to go up in the Valley in 2017 and this year are luxury apartments, according to new survey. Renters looking for apartments they can afford in the Phoenix area won’t be surprised by that statistic. Many of the new complexes to dot central Phoenix and Scottsdale come with rents of higher than $1,500 a month — that’s a mortgage payment for many of us. Building luxury Metro Phoenix ranks in the top one-third of U.S. cities for the most luxury apartment construction in recent years, according national apartment research and listing firm RENTCafe. Renters looking for new, affordable apartments do have it tougher in Las Vegas and St. Louis, where 100 percent of all the new complexes to go up since the end of 2016 have been luxury properties. RENTCafe defines luxury as complexes considered class B+ properties or better. Rents at class A, the highest-end complexes, are typically much higher than an area’s average apartment rent. Rents still climbing Apartment rent increases slowed down a bit in the Valley this year, due to more competition from the new complexes. But the average rent for a Phoenix two-bedroom apartment still climbed 2.6 percent over the past year. That’s almost three times the national average increase, according to another national researcher, ApartmentList. And Valley apartment rents climbed rapidly at not only new complexes but also older ones during the past few years. Valley rents by city A look at median rents for a two-bedroom apartment, and how much costs have increased in the past year: Gilbert: $1,420, up almost 3.5 percent. Peoria: $1,400, up 4.2 percent. Surprise: $1,360, up 1 percent. Chandler: $1,360, up 3.9 percent. Scottsdale: $1,300, up 2.6 percent. Avondale: $1,220, up 1.4 percent. Tempe: $1,160, up 3.5 percent. Glendale: $1,130, up 3 percent. Mesa: $1,080, up 2.7 percent. Phoenix: $1,050, up 2.6 percent. What’s affordable? Metro Phoenix renters need to earn about $19.50 an hour to afford a decent two-bedroom apartment, and earn much more for the Valley’s newest apartments. The typical Valley renter earns $17.59 an hour, according to the latest study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. While most of the new apartments going up in metro Phoenix aren’t affordable for many, Thomas Brophy of Phoenix-based ABI Multifamily said most of the rental complexes in the area went up before 1990 and are more affordable. About 240,000 of the Valley’s apartments were built before then. About 26 percent of all metro Phoenix apartments are considered luxury, according to RENTCafe. That’s just above the national average of 23 percent.