Most workers in Scottsdale can’t afford living here

The vast majority of people who work in Scottsdale don’t actually live in town.


Scottsdale has about 200,059 jobs and roughly 166,549 of them are filled by people who live outside of Scottsdale.


“That’s 83 percent of Scottsdale workers living elsewhere,” Scottsdale Community Assistance Manager Irma Hollamby told City Council during a work session on affordable housing Sept. 21.


Those people jam Scottsdale roads during the workday, then go home at night and purchase goods and services, pay property tax, sales tax, etc. in other cities. 


The reason: There is very little affordable housing in Scottsdale.


 Hollamby identified some key reasons why homes in Scottsdale cost so much:

• Lack of affordable land and high cost of construction materials;

• Scottsdale expects high-quality builds with amenities such as open-space requirements, low-density development, building setbacks, and higher parking ratios; 

• Neighborhood expectations that development will be of equal or increased value;

• Wages are not keeping up with housing costs.


Hollamby’s office administers roughly $5.5 million per year in federal money to pay local landlords. 


The city also gets about $1.5 million in community development block grants for housing rehabilitation and purchasing homes, and another $300,000 to fund a non-profit that purchases affordable housing.


The city will hire a consultant to conduct a full study of the issue.  


Councilwoman Solange Whitehead would like the contractor to identify how many second homeowners there are today versus 2001 as well as an historical look of how many apartments versus condos are out there.


She would also like to look at incentivizing turning short-term rentals into long-term rentals as well as identifying areas where apartments can be built so residents can walk to their jobs.


Vice Mayor Betty Janik wanted to identify other similar cities that could be compared to Scottsdale as well as looking into build-to-rent properties.


Councilwoman Tammy Caputi doesn’t figure the consultant isn’t going to tell Council anything it doesn’t already know. 


“We have very small supply and very large demand that’s what keep driving prices up, and up and up,” she said. 


Mayor David Ortega also noted he has talked with a number of churches that have talked about dedicating some of their land for affordable housing construction. 


AUTHOR: J. Graber, Progress Staff Writer


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