20 Cities With the Most Severe Housing Shortages

The inventory shortage, which has been a nuisance for years now, is causing even greater disruption since the pandemic began. Fueling intense buyer competition and sky-high home prices, the historic supply crunch requires a “once in a generation” federal response to address decades of underinvestment and underbuilding, argues the National Association of REALTORS®.

There are areas of the country that exemplify the problem and support NAR’s urgent call. DeedClaim, an online deed preparation service, analyzed the 50 largest metros to identify the markets with the biggest housing deficits. The site crunched realtor.com® data to determine each metro area’s supply levels and analyzed population changes to find where the lowest amount of available housing is compared to demand.

Phoenix and Dallas topped the list with the biggest housing shortages. Cities in Southern states tended to have the largest housing shortages, according to the study.

Why is lumber is so expensive right now, and other shortages

Choose Your Own Spring Cleaning Plan

Instead of trying to do it all — and doing nothing — pick a cleaning approach that is right for you now

The thought of spring cleaning can be as entrancing as a fairy tale — but getting through a giant list of tasks while having a busy life can be just as unrealistic as a cheerful Snow White twirling about in the forest, with birds tweeting and helping sweep with brooms in their little beaks. The key to successful spring cleaning, then, is to not try to do it all. Instead, pick from one of these six themes for your spring cleaning — and focus your energy where it will count. And if you decide to put on music, fling open the windows and twirl around with your mop, we won’t tell.

3 Kitchen Makeovers Where Walls Came Down

Whether it’s a new layout, improved seating or clever storage, there are lots of way to make your kitchen work better. But sometimes you have to tear something down to help your kitchen reach its full potential. Check out the before-and-after photos of these three kitchen remodels where walls came down — and let us know if you see a sledgehammer in your own kitchen’s future.

Monthly Market Snapshot Infographic

2021 Housing Market Forecast and Predictions

2021 National Housing Market Forecast and Predictions: Back to Normal

To say 2020 was a year of surprises is an extreme understatement. What started off as a bright year for the housing market and the economy was soon derailed by a global pandemic and severe economic recession. As detailed by my colleague, George Ratiu, the economic rebound has been sharp, but is by no means complete and created distinct winners and losers among sectors in the economy. Read more detailed thoughts on the overall economic context and outlook, here. One of the big winners has been the housing market, which saw home sales and prices hit decade-plus highs following decade lows in the span of just a few months. We expect housing’s winning streak to continue in 2021 as seasonal trends normalize and some of the frenzied momentum fades thanks to fresh affordability challenges. Below you’ll find our forecast and housing market predictions on key trends that will shape the year ahead.

Realtor.com 2021 Forecast for Key Housing Indicators

Housing IndicatorRealtor.com 2021 Forecast
Mortgage RatesAverage 3.2% throughout the year, 3.4% by end of year
Existing Home Median Sales Price AppreciationUp 5.7%
Existing Home SalesUp 7.0%
Single-Family Home Housing StartsUp 9%
Homeownership Rate65.9%

Nationwide Housing Snapshot

The COVID-19 pandemic hampered home sales contracts in April, but that will likely mark the low point in pending home sales for the year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report released on Thursday. April was the second consecutive month of declining pending home sales, as social distancing measures and widespread business closures mounted due to the igniting coronavirus outbreak. Every major region of the country saw a drop in month-over-month contract activity in April.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index—a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings—fell 21.8% in April. Contract signings were 33.8% down for the year. April’s decline also marked the greatest decrease in pending home sales since NAR began tracking such data in January 2001.

“With nearly all states under stay-at-home in April, it is no surprise to see the markedly reduced activity in signing contracts for home purchases,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

Yun expects April’s pending home sales to be the lowest point for the year, and the month of May to, therefore, be the lowest point for closed sales. He then predicts a rebound in the housing market in the summer months.

“While the coronavirus mitigation efforts have disrupted contract signings, the real estate industry is ‘hot’ in affordable price points with the wide prevalence of bidding wars for the limited inventory,” Yun says. “In the coming months, buying activity will rise as states reopen and more consumers feel comfortable about home buying in the midst of the social distancing measures.”

More reason behind housing’s optimism: Mortgage applications have been rising over the last few weeks, a gauge used to measure future home sales.

Homeowners Sound Off on Their Biggest Housing Worries

Homeowners are sitting on a record amount of equity, so what has them so worried about housing? A new study by LendingTree surveyed more than 1,500 Americans to gauge their expectations of homeownership.

They worry most about upcoming repairs needed on their home. Nearly one-third of respondents cited major home repairs as their top housing-related worry.

More than half of respondents surveyed say that homes are becoming less affordable in their neighborhoods. With higher prices, they plan to stay put longer. As such, renovations are bigger on their minds.

Nearly three out of four respondents said they are considering renovations this year. Fifty-three percent said they were motivated to do so to increase their home’s value. Other reasons were to give the home an updated look (24%), make the home easier to sell (22%), and add more space to their home (9%).

While rising home prices have some homeowners concerned, they are still upbeat about the housing market overall. And they’re upbeat about their equity: 55% of respondents said they believe their home’s value will improve this year. Also, 68% said they believe that homeownership is a good investment.

But rising home prices do spur concerns for them about affordability. Fifty-three percent of respondents predict housing will be less affordable over the next decade. Gen Xers and baby boomers–at 53% and 57%, respectively—are the most pessimistic about housing affordability.

How long do homeowners stay in their homes?

Owners typically stay fewer years in their homes in metro areas with a high concentration of new residents, a NAR analysis shows.

As of 2018, the median duration of homeownership in the U.S. is 13 years1. Compared to previous years, homeowners opt to spend more time holding onto their residences. Median tenure has increased by 3 years since 2008.

Nevertheless, homeownership duration varies from area to area. Homeowners in some metro areas move more frequently than homeowners in the rest of the country. To begin our analysis, we looked at the median years of residence for owner-occupied homes located in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas. The American Community Survey provides estimates about the median year that owners moved into their homes. As data shows, homeownership duration varies from 6 to 18 years in the 100 largest metro areas. In more than half of these metro areas, homeowners spend less time holding onto their primary residences than the typical homeowner across the country. 

Specifically, homeowners in the following areas typically stay up to 8 years in their homes:

Map of the US: Where Owners Spend Less Time Holding onto Their Homes

In contrast, the following metro areas had a median homeownership duration of 16 years and higher:

Map of the US: Where Owners Stay Longer in Their Homes

As the data shows, many of the fastest-growing metro areas had the lowest median tenures. For instance, in Austin-Round Rock, TX, owners typically stay for 8 years in their homes while 18 percent of the total population moved within the last 12 months in 2018. Respectively, in Colorado Springs, CO the median homeownership duration was 8 years while the share of recent movers was 21 percent.

In contrast, in New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA where fewer people moved recently (9%), the typical homeowner stayed for 15 years. Similarly, the median homeownership duration was 15 years in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA while 9 percent of the total population moved within the last 12 months.

Housing supply shortage and low affordability are two of the main reasons that people stay longer in their homes. Firstly, the number of building permits for single-family homes issued in 2018 compared to a year earlier was lower in the metro areas with median homeownership duration above 13 years. While there are fewer inventory options, sellers in these areas may find it harder to find and purchase their next homes. Thus, they stay longer in their homes and fewer homes are available for first-time homebuyers. On the contrary, permits increased by 4% in the metro areas where homeowners stay less than 13 years in their homes.

Moreover, housing is more expensive in the areas with the highest median tenures. Although short supply increases the seller’s profit, it also difficult for these sellers to afford to purchase their next homes. As data reveals, the median home price of recently purchased homes was 10 percent higher in the areas with a median homeownership duration above 13 years compared to other metro areas.

Homeowners staying longer in their homes can further reduce the number of homes for sale. Homeowners will likely be further locked in place because it is difficult to sell and buy a home at the same time. That being said, finding ways to build more housing will help, but the ultimate goal is to increase the number of existing homes available on the market. This can only happen if these existing owners’ homes go on the market.

However, metro areas with smaller homeownership duration are expected to have a boost of housing activity in the upcoming years. Since these areas have more homes available for first-time homebuyers than other metro areas, more newcomers will likely arrive. As first-time homebuyers become a greater proportion of all homeowners, the median homeownership duration will fall further in these areas.

Hover over the map to see how long owners of different metro areas opt to stay in their homes.

  • In green metro areas, homeowners spend less time holding onto their residences compared to nationwide
  • In grey metro areas, homeowners spend 13 years
  • In orange metro areas, homeowners spend more time holding onto their residences compared to nationwide