Multifamily housing outpaces single-family housing in Chandler

Image description
Multifamily housing in the city of Chandler is outpacing the development of new single-family housing, according to city data.

According to data from the city of Chandler, in 2019 Chandler saw about 500 new single-family residential units completed compared to just under 1,500 multifamily units in the same year. The city continues to see more new requests for multifamily developments than it does single-family homes.

At a meeting in early November, Chandler City Council approved the rezoning ordinances for four multifamily projects scattered across the city. Each project varies in size and scope, according to plans submitted to the city.

“We are seeing what you would expect as a city transitions from suburban growth to maintenance,” said Kevin Mayo, planning administrator of the city of Chandler. “From development to more infill and redevelopment.”

Developers have brought forward 22 multifamily housing projects consisting of about 4,000 units between 2018 and 2020, according to the city. Multifamily housing can be condominiums, townhomes or, more commonly, apartments.

“Once a city develops from a rural agrarian city to a suburban city, then it moves into the next stage of redevelopment and infill,” Mayo said. “Multifamily is a great component to that development cycle.”

In 2019, according to data from the city, developers completed just under 1,500 multifamily units. Mayo says that is a stark contrast to nearly a decade ago when the city was paralyzed by the effects of the Great Recession and no multifamily housing was developed for about three years citywide.

“Around 2012, we had a few things happening; our economy was starting to surge back; and we had continued employment growth,” Mayo said. “In 2012, we started seeing planning and zoning cases come through for multifamily again. Shovels weren’t in the ground for those projects until 2015 or 2016. So visually, you didn’t see a surge of multifamily in the area until then.”

City officials, developers and housing experts in the Valley say Chandler will continue to see an increased need for multifamily housing as the city continues to develop land set aside for employment, adding jobs to the city.

“Employment drives housing,” Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Rick Heumann said. “As we add more jobs to the city, we need to continue to add more places for those people to live. We don’t want to get into a place where we have people living in Mesa or Queen Creek and commuting to their jobs in Chandler. We want people to live, work, eat and play in Chandler.”

Matching inventory and demand

Chandler, like cities and towns across the county, saw a multifamily housing boom in the 1980s, said Mark Stapp, a professor at Arizona State University and local real estate expert. Even with that boom, the development of single-family homes had historically outpaced multifamily housing in Chandler, according to data from the city.

Stapp said the two housing products were bound to flip as Chandler reached build-out.

“Chandler is still evolving,” Stapp said. “But it has gotten to a point in its evolution where it is in a more mature stage of existence, where the city is running out of housing inventory and where large parcels of undeveloped land just don’t exist anymore. When you have employment growth, like Chandler does, you need to have enough demand from users that you have to diversify your housing stock.”

Before the Great Recession, Stapp said, multifamily housing was concentrated in the Valley to Tempe, Scottsdale and downtown Phoenix, with more suburban areas having multifamily housing that was built in the 1980s and often not maintained.

“There was no new multifamily in the suburban marketplaces,” he said. “It’s taken the maturation of Chandler, and it’s taken the investor and lending community’s willingness to look at projects in those areas. Multifamily is the strongest product type for these suburban areas moving forward.”

Mayo said Chandler has a low vacancy rate across its existing multifamily developments.

“Oftentimes you’ll find that new developments are almost entirely rented out by the time they are complete,” Mayo said.

Stapp said Chandler’s focus on bringing jobs to the city in the last decade has increased the burden on the housing market, as seen in the city’s low inventory of single-family homes and low vacancy rates of multifamily housing.

“The one thing Chandler has seen over the last decade is significant employment growth in technology and other higher wage-earning jobs,” Stapp said. “In order to be able to sustain economic development, you have to have a variety of housing types. You have them for mobility. People often start off their careers in an apartment or condo, then own a home and then in their later years, return to renting and multifamily housing so there is less upkeep. It’s a matter of lifestyle, and you have to have housing to cater to every lifestyle.”

Developer Reed Porter, owner of New Village Homes, got a new project approved in November for single-story, rentable units in Chandler. The project will be located at Elliot and Price roads, according to city documents. Porter said it will include 40 one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

“This project is on an odd, thin parcel that had a single home on it,” Porter said. “We do small, boutique neighborhoods of single-family, cottage-style homes as multifamily. We are doing infill projects in Chandler, and often neighbors react better to a multifamily project if it’s single-story and doesn’t necessarily look like traditional apartment complexes.”

The first project like this Porter developed was in Chandler at Ray and McQueen roads. That success inspired this new one.

“It creates a single-family living experience with the benefits of a multifamily community,” Porter said. “Chandler is perfect for that kind of project.”

Multifamily affordability

Many of the newer multifamily developments in Chandler have rents for one-bedroom apartments ranging from $1,300 to $1,600—what the city considers “luxury.”

Stapp said, even with more multifamily developments, he believes cities still need to find ways to address affordability, particularly for those who hold public-sector jobs like police, firefighters and teachers.

“The problem everywhere in metro Phoenix is that we are not as affordable as people like to think we are,” Stapp said. “There is a significant portion of the population that is housing burdened, meaning more than 30% of their income is used on housing. It makes us less resilient to economic hardship and creates less diversity. Multifamily is not just housing for, quote-unquote, ‘poor people,’ but a lot of working poor often live in multifamily housing. These people can be working multiple jobs, and still the ability to afford to pay for a quality place is very difficult.”

Stapp said rents have been on the rise across the Valley, and he expects that trend to continue. Many of the new developments, including in Chandler, have community amenities such as pools, concierge services and full-service gyms. Stapp said people pay more a month for the experience and lifestyle of living in a big, multifamily community and in a unit outfitted with the newest finishes.

“Multifamily is not about housing ‘the poor.’ That’s a real misconception,” Stapp said.

Heumann said he would like to see the city work with the private sector to bring about housing specifically for teachers, police and firefighters—among other working class professions—to improve Chandler’s housing affordability.

“The challenge is that’s not what is getting built,” Heumann said. “I’m not talking about Section 8 housing, but it’s housing for teachers, firemen, retail workers and more who want to live in Chandler close to where they work, and they are being driven out of the city because of pricing.”

Mayo said the city continues to monitor the housing needs of the community. But, Mayo said, while multifamily is outpacing single-family housing, he expects single-family homes will continue to be built on the smaller land parcels left throughout the city as well.

“We kind of keep one eye on today and one eye on the future,” Mayo said. “That’s how we guide development. Right now, we are in line with where we expected to be on the path, and we are headed were we are expected to go.”•


The city of Chandler headquarters is in downtown Chandler. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chandler ends emergency declaration issued last March due to COVID-19

Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke announced May 13 that he is rescinding the proclamation declaring the existence of a local emergency in Chandler issued March 19, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Doug Ducey
Ducey unveils program to encourage individuals to return to work

Gov. Doug Ducey announced May 13 a three-part “Arizona Back to Work” program to incentivize residents to get off unemployment benefits and fill one of the state’s 160,000 to 180,000 open jobs.

CDC ends all mask requirements for fully vaccinated people

The guidance states fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

Doug Ducey
Gov. Ducey signs bill to trim early voter roll

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on May 11 signed into law Senate Bill 1485, which will purge the permanent early voter rolls of anyone who has not voted by mail in the previous two election cycles.

Denise McCreery, d'vine Gourmet owner, first began her business as a means to rid her home of half-consumed wine bottles her husband, a wine distributor, brought home. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chandler's d'Vine Gourmet set to relocate to downtown this fall

Downtown Chandler will get a new business this fall when d'Vine Gourmet relocates its store to the space occupied by Sibley's West.

Residents will have until May 2023 to obtain a Real ID. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
US Department of Homeland Security extends Real ID deadline until 2023

Drivers will have until May 2023 to get the Real ID, which will be required for adults boarding a U.S. commercial flight.

COVID-19 vaccine
Arizona children ages 12-15 can be vaccinated starting May 13

Arizona Department of Health Services officials said they are ready to administer vaccines to the state’s 400,000 children in that age group at state-run vaccination sites in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Tucson, Yuma and Flagstaff.

Susan Bailey was elected president of the American Medical Association in June 2020. (Courtesy American Medical Association)
'I am convinced we will beat COVID': American Medical Association President Susan Bailey discusses vaccine successes, myths, challenges

Bailey was elected president of the American Medical Association in June 2020. Much of the organization's focus during that time has been on vaccine transparency and distribution.

Several new businesses will be opening in Chandler in the next few months. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Conveyor belt sushi, wine bar and more: 5 businesses coming soon to Chandler

Several businesses will open in Chandler in the coming months including 99 Ranch Market, a revolving sushi bar and others.

Chandler USD headquarters. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chandler USD governing board to discuss COVID-19 mitigation plan for upcoming year at May 12 meeting

The Chandler USD governing board will discuss the district's potential COVID-19 mitigation plan for the 2021-22 school year during a meeting Wednesday, May 12, according to the board agenda.

Here are the coronavirus hospitalization data updates to know across Arizona. (Community Impact staff)
ADHS: Emergency Department visits for COVID-19 symptoms spike May 12

Take a look at the hospitalization data across Arizona.

Randy Duren co-owns Hair of the Dog with his wife, Marleen. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
A pet-friendly bar opens in Gilbert; a 99 Ranch Market will anchor a Chandler shopping center and more top news from the Phoenix area

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Phoenix area.