US housing shortage rises to 4.5 million homes

The housing shortage in the US has grown to 4.5 million homes, with a pandemic construction boom unable to stave off the dramatic deficit.

New analysis from Zillow shows the housing shortage rose from 4.3 million homes in 2021 to 4.5 million in 2022.

According to Zillow, the worsening deficit is the root cause of the housing affordability crisis in the nation.

“The simple fact is there are not enough homes in this country, and that’s pushing homeownership out of reach for too many families,” Zillow Senior Economist Orphe Divounguy said.

“The affordability crisis extends to renters as well, with nearly half of renter households being cost burdened. 

“Filling the housing shortage is the long-term answer to making housing more affordable.” 

Across the US in 2022, there were about 8.9 million “missing households”, or individuals or families living with non relatives.

In comparison, 3.55 million housing units were available for rent or sale.

New York has the largest housing deficit at 389,924 homes, closely followed by LA at 336,726, while Chicago (97,379), Dallas (48,150) and Houston (20,028) follow. 

The pandemic-era housing frenzy sparked a construction boom, but so far, that boom has fallen short. 

In 2022, 1.4 million homes were built – at the time, the best year for home construction since the early stages of the Great Recession. 

However, the number of US families increased by 1.8 million that year, meaning the country did not even build enough to make a place for the new families, let alone begin chipping away at the deficit that has hampered housing affordability for more than a decade.

According to the US Census Bureau, roughly 1.45 million homes were completed in 2023. 

The increase over 2022 is a sign of progress, but much more needs to be done.

Mr Divounguy said reforming zoning rules to allow for more density would be key for more homes to be built. 

Even adding a modest amount of density in the country’s biggest markets could create millions of new homes. 

More steps in the right direction include eliminating or reducing parking requirements and minimising delays in approval of building permits.

“We are in a big hole, and it is going to take more than the status quo to dig ourselves out of it,” Mr Divounguy said.

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