The Next Housing Crisis: A Historic Shortage of New Homes

The Wall Street Journal (subscription) headed to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where it found builders can’t afford to build at entry level.

Home construction per household a decade after the bust remains near the lowest level in 60 years of record-keeping, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

What makes the slump puzzling is that by most other measures, the American economy is booming. Jobs are plentiful, wages are on the rise and the stock market is near record highs. Millennials, the largest generation since the baby boomers, are aging into home ownership.

Bob Snowden, a home builder in the Grand Rapids, Mich., area thinks he understands what’s happening. He says he gets calls practically every day from families in the thriving western Michigan city asking him to build them a new home. He ends up turning most of them down.

Demand for housing is stronger than he has ever seen, he says, but land and construction costs have roughly doubled since the end of the last boom a decade ago.