U.S. Cities Are Slow To Keep Up With Housing Demands, Study Finds

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A lot of hopeful tenants are having trouble finding housing in cities like Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Denver. And it may not be just bad luck. A recent study by Apartment List found that home and apartment construction is simply not keeping up with job growth in major U.S. cities. Curbed reports that only 10 of the 50 largest cities have been able to keep up with job growth, and there is a notable lack of affordable housing in particular.

While there were 560,000 homes sold in 2016, many people are forced to buy or rent homes outside of the cities where they work since they are more affordable. Curbed also reports that this extended commute is only one of the many implications of the housing shortage.

San Francisco is one of the top culprits of this gap, as anyone who’s looked for housing there will attest. Between 2005 and 2010, the city was building one new housing unit per job created. But that rate spiked to one housing unit per 6.8 jobs between 2010 and 2015. Curbed cites the construction labor shortage as part of the problem. The industry cut in half between 2007 and 2012.

And industry data shows proof of suburban growth, too. According to a report by The Hill, housing construction actually increased by 8.3% in June, particularly for single-family homes. This adds up to 1.22 million units per year, according to Commerce Department data.

“We expect to see continued strength in starts, particularly with single family, as builders seek to capitalize on strong demand in the market coupled with a shortage of housing supply,” Scott Volling, a partner with PwC, said in a statement to The Hill.

Conversations about housing and infrastructure have taken center stage lately. With more than two hundred milliontrips taken across defective bridges daily in the nation’s 102 largest metro areas, federal infrastructure plans have remained stagnant. Despite discouraging trends in housing and infrastructure, the market could show improvement. Robert Dietz, chief economist for NAHB, said in a statement to The Hill that their predictions show an upward projection.

“The gradual growth in single-family starts in 2017 is in line with our forecast, and we should see this sector continue to strengthen throughout the year as consumers show interest in the housing market” he said.

So, what does this mean for young professionals in the city?

Well, Detroit, Cleveland, Providence, and Birmingham actually have an oversupply of housing to keep up with job growth, according to Apartment List. Perhaps we’ll see more people packing their bags for these cities.

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