The US could be heading for a national housing shortage this year despite the real estate sector struggling with healthy inventories, three million foreclosures, falling values, and rising vacancy rates, it is claimed.
Several leading economists are warning that not enough new properties are being built to keep up with expected population growth. They estimate that only a third of what will be needed is currently under construction.
According to Brian Wesbury, chief economist at First Trust Advisors, the US needs to add 1.5 million housing units per year just to keep up with population growth plus another 100,000 for fires and tear downs. ‘We need 1.6 million or more per year. Right now we’re down to about six and a half, seven months’ inventory, whether you look at new homes or existing homes. Housing starts are now between 500,000 and 600,000 a year,’ he said.
‘I think one of the secret investments, if you will, over the next decade is going to be housing. It is extremely cheap, inflation is on the way. But people are running away from it. You know, it’s that old adage – when there’s blood in the streets, that’s when you invest. And this is the time, I think, for real estate,’ Wesbury added.