Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 2, 2021

It’s time to build more homes

If you haven’t noticed, housing inventory is low. Very low. In fact, this past May, there were 64% fewer houses for sale than there were in May 2020.

This problem isn’t limited to the Greater Chattanooga market. Over the past month, there’s been an increase in houses listed for sale, but demand is so intense and homes are selling so fast that inventory still remains a great concern.

Simply put, low housing inventory is a concern nationwide. With this in mind, more and more organizations, including the National Association of Realtors, are taking steps to help relieve this burden.

“Housing Is Critical Infrastructure: Social and Economic Benefits of Building More Housing,” a startling new report from the NAR titled, points to a shortfall of 5.5 million to 6.8 million housing units since 2001. Not only are there fewer homes, but there are also fewer people building wealth by owning home.

The report summarizes the situation succinctly. NAR reports that “Following decades of underbuilding and underinvestment, the U.S. faces an acute shortage of available housing, an ever-worsening affordability crisis, and an existing housing stock that is aging and increasingly in need of repair – all to the detriment of the health of the public and the economy.

“The scale of underbuilding and the existing demand-supply gap is enormous and will require a major national commitment to build more housing of all types by expanding resources, addressing barriers to new development and making new housing construction an integral part of a national infrastructure strategy.”

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says there’s a strong desire for homeownership across this country, but the lack of supply is preventing too many Americans from achieving that dream.

“It’s clear from the findings of this report and from the conditions we’ve observed in the market over the past few years that we’ll need to do something dramatic to close this gap,” Yun says.

The price of lumber, which had been skyrocketing, is starting to come back down. But other than that, what can be done to help?

First, NAR recommends policy changes and encourages lawmakers to remove construction barriers to help incentivize new development.

Earlier this year, NAR released a separate report, “State and Local Policy Strategies to Advance Housing Affordability,” which urged lawmakers to pursue solutions through fiscal policy measures.

This report also proposed policies aimed at increasing the housing supply, identified needed zoning and permitting reform and addressed shortages in capital for developing affordable housing.

In addition, the NAR report suggested expanding resources, maximizing the potential of existing programs and incentivizing shifts in local zoning and regulations (such as converting unused commercial spaces into residential housing).

With these steps, Realtors feel we can substantially increase the quantity and density of developable residential property.

Across the nation, Realtors are working to make more housing available. We do that by showing up and making sure local and national officials hear the voices of our communities.

Our local community and the entire country need more housing, and Realtors are doing all they can to make that happen. That’s Who We R.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,400 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of 300 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423 698-8001.