Population growth has been outpacing that of housing construction in the U.S. for more than a decade.
That’s according to the findings of a new report from the Up for Growth National Coalition, a group of real estate developers, owners, and builders of affordable housing, which suggests that developers will need to construct an additional 7.3 million homes in order to make up for shortages.
The report also found that builders in 22 states and also the District of Columbia have been unable to construct enough new homes to sustain population growth.
The state in most need of new housing is California, which has built 3.4 million fewer homes than was needed to support its population growth since 2000. There are other problems too, the report found. For example, many states are struggling with a shortage of available lots to build on, as well as shortages of labor and building materials.
“As we dug into the numbers behind this, at a local market level, we’re seeing a pronounced affordability challenge in places like Arizona,” Mike Kingsella, executive director of the Up for Growth National Coalition, told The Wall Street Journal.
However, while states such as Arizona and Utah are facing acute shortages of available homes, the problem is more to do with strong demand from retirees and other growing demographic groups buying up homes in these states, the coalition said.
Still, that takes nothing away from the fact that home construction per household in the U.S. is at its lowest level in 60 years, said John Rappaport, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
The shortage is forcing many people to come up with alternative arrangements to buying or renting their own homes, Rappaport told the Journal. These alternatives include doubling up with family members or roommates, or moving to areas that have a greater abundance of homes.