Posted June 26, 2019

Harvard: U.S. Housing Production Lags Far Behind Demand

New study shows that new home construction remains depressed even in our strong economy.

Despite a solid economy, rising wages and household growth that is now back from post-recession lows, new home construction remains depressed, due to supply-side challenges that are making it increasingly more difficult to build at affordable price points. Meanwhile, cost-burden rates for modest-income renter households continue to rise and the issue of rental affordability is increasingly getting attention at the state and local level.

These are among the key findings of the 2019 State of the Nation’s Housing report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies released on June 25.

NAHB continues to work with the administration and Congress to address America’s housing affordability crisis. The Harvard report reiterates the challenges facing builders to produce homes that are affordable and meet the needs of increasingly diverse households.

In a press release accompanying the report, Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies, said the most significant factors contributing to the slow construction recovery are rising land prices and regulatory constraints on development.

“These constraints, largely imposed at the local level, raise costs and limit the number of homes that can be built in places where demand is highest,” he said. “The limited supply of smaller, more affordable homes in the face of rising demand suggests that the rising land costs and the difficult development environment make it unprofitable to build for the middle market.”

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Click here to view the full report.