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Coconino County Ranked Among Least Affordable Rental Markets for Millennials


Coconino County was recently ranked among the 15 least-affordable home-rental markets for millennials – those in their early 20s to mid-30s. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, low-paying jobs, high housing costs and second-home ownership are some of the contributing factors.

According to RealtyTrac, the average rental price for a three-bedroom home in Coconino County is just under $1,300 a month. Also, the local median household income is around $46,000 while the county’s unemployment rate is more than a percentage point above the national average.

Devonna McLaughlin is the executive director for the nonprofit Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona.

“I would argue that it’s a challenge for all of us in Flagstaff to find affordable rental housing, affordable home ownership opportunities … Prices aren’t necessarily related to local incomes because folks from outside the community have the opportunity to come rent or buy in our town,” McLaughlin said.

According to McLaughlin, local jobs in tourism and with nonprofits and the government often don’t pay enough to keep up with local housing costs.

“Is it a housing problem or is it an economic development wage issue? And I would say it’s both. If people made more money in Flagstaff they can afford higher priced housing. Or, if we had more affordable housing then the wages wouldn’t be such a critical issue — there’s a balance there,” McLaughlin said.

Topping RealtyTrac’s list was Bronx County in New York, with an average rental cost of nearly $1,900, followed by the Baltimore and Philadelphia areas. 

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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