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Zillow analysis shows more than six million homes missing from U.S. market

Published Aug. 14, 2018

It's no secret that it's hard to find housing market. But why?

Real estate analytics company Zillow said it's because of the lack of construction after the housing market crashed.

Between 1985 and 2000, there were 3.9 permits issued for single-family homes throughout the U.S. per 1,000 residents. According to a Zillow analysis, if that historic rate had continued over the past decade, there would be about 6.3 million more single-family homes in the housing stock.

But since 2008, that rate dropped — to just 1.9 permits per 1,000 people. The national market would have to add 1.3 million homes per year for five years to catch up.

RELATED: Here's what middle-of-the-pack prices can get you in a Tampa Bay house now

The Tampa Bay area has trended higher than the national rates for an average of 2.5 permits for single-family homes per 1000 residents since the housing market crashed in 2008. But it dropped from an average of 5.4 permits per 1000 residents between 1985 and 2000.

With a limited inventory that's been declining for the past three and a half years, competition for available homes has been fierce recently months in the nation's hottest housing markets. It's driving up prices and making it more difficult for new buyers to enter the market. The median home value is higher than its pre-recession peak in more than half of the nation's largest markets.

Zillow's senior economist, Aaron Terrazas, said this means buyers are facing a smaller supply of homes on the market, which equates to more competition and higher prices.

"Building activity came to a near-standstill when the housing market collapsed, and now a decade later, years of underbuilding have left a gap of millions of homes missing from the American housing stock," Terrazas said. "Historically, population growth has been met with new construction and new construction was a critical contributor to new inventory. Without a sustained pickup in permitting and construction activity, first-time buyers will struggle to gain a foothold on homeownership."

And if homes aren't being built, then that means existing homes available on the market are getting older. The national median age of homes that sold in 2007 was 24 years. By 2017, that had increased to 37 years, bringing a new set of challenges around home maintenance as the structures age.

For Tampa Bay, the median age of homes sold in 2007 was 23 years. But last year, it was 35 years.

Seattle-based Zillow is a real estate and rental marketplace that uses data to connect consumers with real estate professionals.

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Contact Hannah Denham at Follow @hannah_denham1.