Meramec Capital

The Housing Shortage – A Building Crisis

To say that the United States is in a crisis regarding the available housing stock would be a massive understatement. Nationwide, homes available for purchase and rent are rapidly drying up, with fewer available each year. Texas, Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina especially are suffering in this department, but that doesn’t mean there is no hope. The number of homes available is insufficient to meet demand, let alone necessity. New homes are needed, but insufficient efforts are insufficient to stop the problem.

Perhaps because businesses are flocking to Texas, there is an overflow of people moving to the state – an estimated 1,000 people every day – overcrowding a housing market already lacking in affordable homes. Businesses have been forced to close their doors because their employees simply cannot afford to live near their places of work. A new job for a new Texas resident should not mean a job for a current resident vanishes. As Texas’ economy continues to grow, so should its ability to meet its residents, both current and new.

Illinois has a rental shortage of over 293,000 units, but the situation is far worse. Illinois tied last for the construction of new homes – the other two being Connecticut and Rhode Island, two states that Illinois has beaten in population with 10,000,000 more residents. In Chicago alone, hundreds of vacant homes are not available for sale or rent. The crisis is clear for all to see. With interest rates fluctuating and inflation rising, the lack of new homes is only compounded by the lack of movement on existing homes.

Fewer homes are being sold in Missouri despite more people looking for them, and while the bidding wars of the pandemic era housing market are not as robust, multiple offers are still being made on each house. Missouri can provide homes for 44 out of every 100 people who live in the state, clearly indicating the problem: a lack of supply commensurate with the demand. It is estimated that Missouri lacks almost 120,000 units in its housing market. On top of people remaining in their homes longer, the problem has only become more noticeable as prices of existing units are soaring and rents are increasing.

North Carolina has difficulty providing homes for communities of all sizes and has suffered under this crushing weight for years. While this state has sought to revise building codes in densely populated areas, there is an estimated shortage of over 180,000 homes for rent – or, put more bluntly, there are only 43 homes for every 100 people. Despite growing demand, North Carolina’s chief struggle is its refusal to change its building regulations. From prohibiting multi-family units, limiting the height of houses, setting minimum lot sizes, or even mandating setbacks, its ability to meet demand has been impeded even before new construction begins.

One solution is to ease obstacles that deter builders from constructing new homes – whether by modernizing the permitting process or reducing regulatory barriers. Regulations should be present to offer safety and security, not to deter construction from ever happening. It is also necessary to increase the availability of affordable single-family or multi-family units so consumers can take advantage of booming economies instead of snuffing them out.


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