Low inventory will be huge challenge to home sales in 2018

Economists say tight supply remains a thorn for brokers, developers and homeowners as new year approaches

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On Tuesday, the real estate industry breathed an unexpected, if temporary, sigh of relief with news that single-family housing starts spiked to 930,000 units in November, up 5.3 percent over October for a 10-year high unattained since the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007. The gains piggybacked on increases in October, when overall housing starts rose to a strong annual rate of 1.256 million units in the aftermath of powerful hurricanes over the summer that slowed housing construction in Texas and Florida for three months before resuming in the fall. But with inventory still treacherously low across the United States, economists and real estate analysts told Inman that bouncing back to a 50-year average rate of 1.5 million new units remains a challenge worth fighting for in 2018. Indeed, real estate experts agreed that inventory challenges will likely persist into the new year. Currently, overall inventory for existing single-family homes and multifamily homes stands at 1.67 million,...