Housing Supply Shortage

With increased lending and consistent job creations in the economy, the housing market has regained some health, with higher home sales and a very low foreclosure rate. However, the industry today is facing a different kind of crisis: not enough homes for sale. As community and industry experts, REALTOR® Associations and REALTORS® are in a prime position to be experts in creating and implementing solutions and strategies to address this issue. The resources provided below are designed to help you better understand housing supply issues in your community, and start a dialogue among strategic government and community partners.

Framing Housing Supply Shortage

Increasing Home Prices, Decreasing Inventory

Lack of housing inventory is considered the main reason that drives up home prices. Although new home construction has picked up, it is still not enough to accommodate the increased housing demand. In the last 6 years, home prices have increased 48%, while housing inventory has decreased by 28%, reaching its lowest level since 1999.

48%
increase

28%
decrease

Strong Economy, Low Unemployment, & Construction Permit Issuance

As the unemployment rate drops due to a strong economy, the demand for housing is expected to increase as Americans set their sights on homeownership. Data from NAR Research found that for every two new jobs, one single-family permit was issued. But for the last 5 years, for every four new jobs created, one single-family permit is issued — half the historical average of housing production.

4
jobs

1
permit

Localizing the Housing Supply Issue

Housing
Shortage Tracker

The Housing Shortage Tracker compares how many permits are issued relative to the number of new jobs.
Open Tracker

REALTORS® Affordability
Distribution Curve & Score

Compare the housing affordability
of selected metro area level
to the affordability statewide.
Open Tracker

Is your area building enough housing?

Comparing single-family construction with the 20-year construction level and the employment growth for 175 metro areas..
Open Tracker

Local Solutions to Consider

With a strong demand for housing, but not enough supply, home prices are rising. The solution: build more homes, which would ease housing price growth. However, in reality, depending on your location, numerous factors make it more difficult for developers to build more homes. NAR’s Research and Advocacy Groups have created the following list of solutions to consider in addressing your area’s housing supply shortage. Stay tuned as this list will be updated with new resources and information.

Raise Awareness of Housing Underproduction

Use the NAR Research’s resources on this website to show how housing production per job growth in your metro area is lower than in the past.

Bring People Together to Discuss the Issue.

A REALTOR® Party Smart Growth Action Grant or Housing Opportunity Grant can support a forum to discuss the need for more housing.

Resources:

Success Stories:

Form Partnerships among REALTORS®, Builders, Local Government, and Non-profit Organizations.

Identify and reach out to organizations and government agencies that share a common goal.

Success Story:

Promote Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory dwelling units make it possible for existing single-family lots to provide additional housing, typically one-or-two bedroom units, with lower construction costs than entirely new housing units on a separate lot. This policy would particularly benefit areas with limited land for development.

Many cities are relaxing their laws to make it easier to build second units in single-family-home neighborhoods.

Resource:

Use Publicly-Owned Land for Affordable Housing Production

Most local governments own surplus land, which can be contributed toward projects developed in partnership with builders and non-profit housing developers.

Resource:

Reduce Impact Fees and Streamlining Approval Processes

Impact fees may create additional hurdles to homebuilders, requiring additional funds to obtain permits.

Resource:

Support Trade School & Apprentice Programs

The construction industry is experiencing a shortage of workers. Consider partnering with states and municipalities to support construction trades training in your local high schools and community college.

Update and Reduce Parking Requirements in Location-Efficient Areas

People own fewer cars in locations near public transportation or with other convenient options such as walking, biking, or ride-hailing. Reducing parking requirements can make it easier and less expensive for builders to build new housing. While these minimum requirements add an additional cost to the development, they should be updated to the current needs of the area to avoid overestimated demand.

Resources:

Work with Community Banks to Increase Lending for Housing Development

The Federal Home Loan Bank can provide reliable liquidity to community banks to support housing finance and community investment. For instance, they provide zero interest loan program for costs associated with start-up and feasibility analysis of mixed-use housing and economic development projects in Cincinnati.

Resource:

Amend Housing Rehabilitation Codes

Consider amending rehabilitation codes that are designed to make it easier to renovate older structures by scaling building code compliance requirements to the scope of the planned work. Modernization and redevelopment of older buildings will be less costly for developers while building codes usually add significantly to cost of a project.

Resources:

Reform Land Use and Zoning Regulations

Reform land use and zoning regulations to allow higher densities, including smaller lots for single-family homes, and more allowance for attached homes and multifamily development. This is one of the principles of smart growth. Local zoning codes should permit a range of housing types and densities. Allowing for mixed uses and higher densities can also make your neighborhoods more walkable.

Resources:

Updating Condominium Construction Defect Laws

Consider updating the condominium defect laws to increase the construction of condominiums. In part due to fear of being sued, builders are not constructing condominiums. Several states are tackling their condominium defect laws to make condo construction more attractive to developers.

Resource: