Housing Demand Is Rising, But Inventory Short by 4 Million

January 22, 2020
Building Houses
By Brian Jackson - Adobe Stock

The home industry is really picking up steam. Builders constructed 5.9 million single-family homes from 2012 to 2019, adding 888,000 last year alone. But that’s still not enough to alleviate the housing shortage, falling short by almost 4 million homes, according to a Realtor.com report. Even though we’re more than a decade removed from the Great Recession, we’re still feeling its effects. Construction activity is expected to increase this year, but demand is also growing, which will make it even harder to play catch up. Where there is a will, there is a way, but according to experts, the current way forward will take years to supply enough houses. 

Homebuilding took a sharp turn higher to end 2019, but it is far from enough to satisfy the current demand. The U.S. housing market is short nearly 4 million homes, according to new analysis from realtor.com.

Analyzing U.S. census data, the report showed that the 5.9 million single-family homes built between 2012 and 2019 do not offset the 9.8 million new households formed during that time. Even with an above average pace of construction, it would take builders between four and five years to get back to a balanced market.

The shortfall today can be blamed on the epic housing crash of more than a decade ago, brought on by irrational and unscrupulous mortgage lending. With loans available to even the riskiest buyers, builders responded by putting up 1.7 million single-family homes at the peak of the construction boom in 2005, according to the U.S. census. That was about 5 million more than the 20-year average.

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