According to a recent article in Business Insider, America is entering a new housing crisis. But unlike the last one, in which supply was overly abundant, this time it appears not enough home construction is occurring, defined by rising prices due to the dearth of homes.
Following the mid-aughts housing bubble that saw homeowners nationwide get themselves upside down in homes and mortgages they could never afford to repay—a crisis that was as much about too much supply as it was about bad financing—the market has gone the complete opposite direction.
The number of starter homes on the market has declined 43.6 percent in the past four years. Homeowners wishing to move from a starter home to something better can’t afford the next step.
Many would-be homeowners have shied away from taking on the debt associated with buying a home. The withering experience of the Great Recession has scarred the way Americans see the economy and will continue to do so, according to Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab.
“Everyone used to love leverage, and now that’s no longer the case,” she says. “People have an unwillingness to take on debt since the recession. There really is something to be said for the muscle memory of 2008.”
Instead of going through a normal cycle of deleveraging coming out of a recession and then resuming taking on debt, Americans have continued to pay down bills and avoid additional debt-powered consumption. New housing starts are well below the pre-crisis and historic recovery averages, and the lack of new homes has driven prices up.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, states: “The main issue continues to be a supply and affordability problem. Finding the right property at an affordable price is burdening many potential buyers. The overall demand for buying is still solid entering the busy spring season, but home prices and rents outpacing wages and anxiety about the health of the economy are holding back a segment of would-be buyers.”