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According to RENTCafe, about 87% of all the new rental complexes coming online in the Phoenix metro area in 2017 qualified as luxury apartments. Rents of $1500 a month are the new normal and Phoenix now ranks in the top one-third of U.S. cities for the most luxury apartment construction in recent years. The good news is the city is still more affordable than Las Vegas and St. Louis, where 100% 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. 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.

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.

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