Article Image

IPFS News Link • Arizona's Top News

Shear Genius: Arizona overbuilt during housing boom

Overall, the number of Arizona housing units, including single-family homes, condominiums and apartments, increased 30 percent from 2000 to 2010. The state's population grew 25 percent during the same time. In short, the state gained far more homes than it did people. "The census confirms that most new homes built in metro Phoenix during the boom are still vacant or only temporarily filled by renters because they were bought by investors," said Jim Rounds, an economist with Scottsdale-based Elliott D. Pollack & Co. The gap between housing and population growth is even greater than the raw numbers suggest because, on average, almost three people live in a home in Arizona. For the growth rates to match, the state would need to add about three new residents for each new housing unit. Economists and other growth experts suspected Arizona's population estimates during the housing boom were flawed. Houses were built and plans made for far more residents than actually lived here. During 2005, the peak for homebuilding in the Valley, a record 65,000 new houses were constructed.