As inflation continues to rise and the price of everyday items skyrocketing in recent months, Tempe residents have begun voicing concern over the inflated prices and the amount of money they have to spend just to get through the day.
“It’s starting to become a little ridiculous how much I have to spend on things I don’t enjoy buying,” says Sabin Broberg, a student at Arizona State who was born and raised in Denmark. “There are days where I find myself spending over $100 just on things like food and gas and other basics. I just don’t really know how to not spend money on these things, I need them to survive.”
According to gasprices.aaa.com, the average price for a gallon of gas in the state of Arizona is currently $4.62, up 66% from last April’s average of $3.08. The dramatic increase in gas prices has been a topic of popular conversation for the past few months and has already been well documented, but the rising prices of apartment rentals also have people concerned.
Due to the high population of college students and Phoenix commuters living in the area, apartment rentals have usually been relatively cheap, but things seem to be trending in the wrong direction.
“It’s been pretty tough I’m not going to lie,” says Alex Robertson, a Tempe resident who is currently looking for a new lease. “I just graduated and would love to stay in Tempe for a few years, but right now I don’t really think that’s possible. Everywhere I look for a new place to live has increased their rates to the point where I’m seriously considering moving back home just so I can save some money.”
According to ApartmentList.com, the average price to rent a one-bedroom apartment jumped 32% in the past year to $1,741. The national average for a one-bedroom apartment is also rising, currently sitting at $1,684 (Rent.com).
The Tempe City Council has heard the concerns of residents and while there are plans to start building more affordable housing options closer to downtown (the city recently purchased the abandoned Food City on Apache Blvd. with plans to construct new affordable housing), luxury housing projects are still being given the green light to proceed with development.
In February the city council approved a $1.8 billion mixed-use development with a vote of 7-0, a somewhat shocking result considering the amount of public backlash to the project.
The new housing project, known as South Pier, includes plans for 600,000 square feet of Class A office space, 2,300 for-rent apartment units, and 111,000 square feet of retail.
“This council needs to go all-in on affordable housing,” says Marisella Morris, a Tempe resident who lives close to where the luxury complex would be developed. “It’s projects like this that are actively driving out working families like my own.”