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The Housing Shortage Isn’t Just a Coastal Crisis Anymore


Robert Dietz, who travels the country as the chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, warned of that confluence of problems before the pandemic.“Over the last four or five years, every place I go, they cite underbuilding,” he said. The exception is communities that have been losing population (although they may need new or rehabbed housing, too, to replace homes that become uninhabitable). “Everywhere else,” Mr. Dietz said, “it was just a matter of degree and scale.”There is more housing under construction nationwide today than at any time since the 1970s, when many baby boomers were forming households (today’s big construction numbers reflect in part that it takes longer to build a house amid pandemic supply-chain delays). But rising interest rates and fears of a looming recession mean that home builders are already starting to pull back, Mr. Dietz said. And even at the current rate of construction, it would take years to dig out of the country’s deficit. …

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