Could A Lack Of Lots Be Driving Prices Up?

When thinking of buying a home, few buyers consider the number of buildable lots in their area. However, builders say a shortage of available lots is keeping them from putting up more new homes. And at a time when the number of homes available for sale is already low, that isn’t good for buyers. That’s because, more new homes on the market would help slow down price increases, improve affordability, and provide buyers with more choices. According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, 64 percent of builders say the supply of lots in their market is “low” or “very low.” That’s the highest it’s been since the NAHB began tracking lot availability in 1997. Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist, says the problem is growing. “We have monitored lot availability for the last two decades, and it is clear that the scarcity of building lots is growing,” Dietz said. “Whether due to land use policy, geographic constraints or other regulatory constraints, the lack of lots for residential construction will have negative impacts on housing affordability in many markets.” Regionally, the West had the highest number of builders reporting a low number of lots, at nearly 40 percent. In the South, 23 percent of builders said lot supply was low, compared to 18 percent in both the Midwest and Northeast. More here.

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