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How Is the Coronavirus Affecting the Housing Shortage?

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How Is the Coronavirus Affecting the Housing Shortage?


April 6, 2020
Unfinished home building site with framed home awaiting completion
By Piman Khrutmuang

Before the coronavirus forced many Americans' daily routines to come to a screeching halt, the country was already experiencing a housing shortage. Now that home building is slowing down due to lower demand and some local construction bans, the inventory shortage is expected to deepen. However, one shining light in this is that many builders are reporting that their projects are delayed but not canceled. Once the pandemic subsidies, builders are hopeful that work will pick back up again. 

Before most Americans had even heard of the new coronavirus or COVID-19, the nation was suffering from a severe housing shortage. Builders couldn't put homes up fast enough to satisfy the hordes of eager buyers and renters. But the global pandemic and ensuing financial crisis have put home construction on ice, setting the stage for an even worse housing shortage when the economy recovers.

Construction is not considered an essential business in at least five states, including hard-hit New York and Washington. That means job sites have been forced to close as state orders supersede the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's guidance designating residential construction as an "essential infrastructure business."

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