‘We Need To Build More Homes’: Prices Soar Amid Housing Shortage

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A for sale sign is displayed in front of a house in Westwood, Mass. Home prices hit a new record in October as the number of homes for sale hit an all-time low.

Steven Senne/AP


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Steven Senne/AP

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The supply of previously owned single-family homes fell to a 2.4 months in October — the lowest since 1982, when the National Association of Realtors began collecting the data.

National Association of Realtors


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National Association of Realtors


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There are other immediate challenges too. The price of building materials such as lumber for framing houses more than doubled during the pandemic, though prices have been coming down from their peaks. The wildfires in the Western U.S. have caused supply shortages.

«Builders cite a lack of lots and decreased availability of building materials as headwinds that will limit production,» says Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders. The pace of homebuilding has been rising, though it remains well below peak levels over the past 50 years.

Yun says basically the country needs to build millions more homes — both single-family houses and condos. And he says that could create a lot of jobs.


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So he says that as Congress looks to help the economy, lawmakers should find ways to boost home construction. For example, he says some in Congress are hopeful of passing an infrastructure spending program after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

«As part of the infrastructure spending, if they can provide a greater access to high-speed Internet in more rural communities, smaller towns, outlying regions of a major metro market,» Yun says, that could help create demand for homes where it’s cheaper to build them.

«The other part is just having a better transportation system, whether it is a light rail or expanding some of the highways,» he says. Yun says local officials too need to adjust zoning laws and find ways to allow more homes to be built.

  • homes
  • housing market
  • National Association of Realtors
  • Home sales

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