According to a report released today (6-16-21) by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and authored by the Rosen Consulting Group, decades of underinvestment and underbuilding have created a shortage of housing in the U.S. that is more direct than previously anticipated and will require a concerted and long-term nationwide commitment to overcome.
The report, titled “Housing is Critical Infrastructure: Social and Economic Benefits of Building More Housing,” outlines causes and offers numerous potential solutions for both federal and local-level policymakers to consider but warns that immediate action must be taken across all levels of government, no matter the approach. Among other, more specific policy recommendations, the report’s authors argue that lawmakers must work to expand access to resources, remove barriers to and incentivize new development, and make housing construction an integral part of a national infrastructure strategy.
Growth in America’s housing inventory has slowed significantly since the turn of the century, particularly over the past decade. This trend affects every region of the country, creating what the NAR report calls an “underbuilding gap” of 5.5 to 6.8 million housing units since 2001.
In a statement prepared for the release of the report, Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist said, “There is a strong desire for homeownership across this country, but the lack of supply is preventing too many Americans from achieving that dream. It’s clear from the findings of this report and from the conditions we’ve observed in the market over the past few years that we’ll need to do something dramatic to close this gap.”
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