The population of Tucson metro is growing, and with it there is a demand for affordable housing, but some of the proposed solutions are deregulations, as well as using funding in smart ways to suit the needs of the population.
"Pima County is working with our partners at the City of Tucson to use our respective allocation of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME Program) funding to support development (construction) and preservation (renovation) of affordable rental and homeownership. HOME Program funds ($13.25 million over next five years) allocated for development and renovation projects are provided as gap funding which leverages private equity and financing as well as other public funding resources, which reducing the developers financing/mortgage costs and makes the housing more affordable to low income renters and homeowners," said Marcos Ysmael, housing program manager with Pima County.
About $1.2 million in funds over the next five years are going to be allocated to fund a county-wide homebuyer assistance program to help low income home buys. This recently increased the amount of down-payment assistance because of the jump in home values. Another $1.6 million is going to be combined with State funding through the Arizona Department of Housing to provide referral based tenant rental assistance to help prevent homelessness and evictions.
Housing demands are high, which is the reason for the growth in the program. Rental vacancies are at all-time lows, with 4% or less unoccupied. As of February 2020, the average days on market are 28 days. This is down from 33 days in February 2019, and 41 days in Feb 2017.
Homeownership demand is also on the rise. The change in closed sales for all properties is up 11% and the median priced sales closing up 10.6%. In renter households in Pima County, 50% of moderate income households are cost burdened, and more than 15% are severely cost burdened, which is paying more than 50% for housing.
Nationally, more than 328,000 new apartments each year need to be built to keep up with rental demand. Arizona needs to build 16,855 apartments each year to meet demand. Currently, the Arizona Housing Coalition estimates they are short 150,000 rental homes for extremely low income renter households in Arizona. Pima County needs 17,369 units.