InvestingMarkets & Economy

The return of the prodigal single-family rentals

6 reasons why we might be seeing more inventory soon
  • Inadequate inventories have been stunting the housing recovery, even as economic recovery means more people can buy.
  • With new homes selling like hotcakes, builders can’t do much better due to ever-increasing local land use and environmental restrictions and skilled labor shortages.
  • Next year we will see many of single-family rental properties return home to the owner-occupant marketplace in earnest.

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It’s no secret that inadequate inventories have been stunting the housing recovery. Through November, total housing inventory has fallen year-over-year for 18 straight months and supplies are now 11.4 percent lower than they were two years ago. As inventories decline, rising income, improved employment and historically low mortgage rates have given demand a shot in the arm. Sales in November reached 15.4 percent higher than a year ago -- nothing to sneeze at -- but the sad truth is that sales could have been 6.5 percent higher if more houses were available to buy. Don’t blame the builders Pressure is on America’s homebuilders, an industry that was virtually devastated by the housing crash and has yet to recover fully. In November, housing starts were only 0.5 percent higher than they were a year ago, and new home construction is still only about half the 1.5 million starts annually the production necessary to meet the needs of America’s expanding population. With ...