/ Modified apr 15, 2024 4:33 p.m.

Pima County evictions fell over 40% in March

But experts say the positive trends are still leaving some renters behind.

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David Jackmanson/Creative Commons

Housing experts are cautiously optimistic about the housing landscape in Pima County after the number of evictions fell in March to the lowest monthly rate in three years.

In January, evictions topped 1,300, according to data from the Southwest Institute for Research on Women at the University of Arizona.

The latest report shows that in March, that number fell to just over 700 evictions. That’s a 44% drop, said housing expert Keith Bentele with the Institute.

It’s also the lowest monthly eviction rate since November 2021.

“That’s noteworthy, and large,” said Bentele.

The rental vacancy rate also continues to increase, meaning that there are more units available, and the number of renters who said they were anticipating eviction soon fell by half.

Housing experts said this is good news for the average renter.

But although rents continue to stabilize, incomes still have not caught up with the large overall increase in housing costs since the pandemic, and the positive trends are not being felt by everyone.

“While rent increases have plateaued, which is unambiguously good news, they plateaued to the level that's significantly higher than was the case in the past year, right there's a structural problem where low income households are much more houses cost burdened, and now than they were just a couple of years ago,” said Bentele.

The average rent only increased by about 4% in Pima County in the last year, which according to the report is a “substantial slowdown” from past years, but low income families and people of color remain disproportionately overburdened.

“The fact that rents are leveling out is good, but it doesn't fix that problem for those folks,” said Bentele.

The National Equity Atlas estimates that 79% of individuals not current on their rent payments are people of color, and 75% of them were low-income.

However, experts said if rent stabilization and lower eviction trends continue, it could mean the housing landscape is improving for average Pima County renters.

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