America’s Homebuilding Boom (That Isn’t)

From Apricitas Economics:

“In the years before and after the 2008 recession, American homebuilding completely collapsed. The financial crisis caused housing starts to plummet, and a weak labor market couldn’t support a recovery in rents until 2011. By 2015, though, the problem swapped: weak construction levels couldn’t support a recovery in the labor market. Real rents began climbing rapidly and consistently—something that hadn’t happened before in modern American history.

Today, new housing starts are higher than at any point since early 2006—but it’s nowhere near enough to keep up with population growth, let alone make up for the decade of lost construction. The pandemic has driven increased demand for housing as living patterns shift and incomes improve, but construction is falling behind. Supply chain issues are increasing building costs, keeping housing completions low, and preventing many projects from even breaking ground. Underconstruction has pushed vacancy rates to the lowest levels in nearly 40 years, indicating just how severe the housing shortage has gotten.

There may be a construction boom, but it’s a false boom—one dwarfed by the size of the demand it is trying to satiate. Across America (but especially in major cities), it still remains incredibly difficult or outright illegal to build new housing of any type. More and more Americans are moving into lower cost cities in the South and Southeast, but even these places are failing to keep up. The US will still need millions more homes before demand is even close to satiated—and today’s construction boom needs to be placed in the proper context of an acute housing shortage.”

Posted by at 1:29 PM

Labels: Global Housing Watch


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