Over the past several years affordable housing has become a nationwide concern. The year 2020 exacerbated these concerns by adding record unemployment claims and record business closures, on top of continuously rising housing costs. One of the starkest factors driving this trend is the lack of available housing supply in the United States.

This figure shows the number of single-family homes available for sale throughout the calendar year in the U.S. for the years 2018-20. Historically there have been roughly 1 million homes for sale at the beginning of the calendar year. This number tends to rise through the spring and early summer, peak in late summer, and fall back to around 1 million by the end of the calendar year. That trend saw a major deviation in 2020.

While the year started with the same number of homes for sale as in previous years, the housing inventory did not rise through the spring, and started falling precipitously through the summer and fall. The available supply of single-family homes for sale at the end of 2020 was little more than half of the inventory at the beginning of the year. As of January 2021, there were less than 576,000 available single-family homes for sale across the country. With  vastly fewer homes for sale nationwide, buyers are acting fast to make deals. The demand side is driving the recent housing market boom. 

From article in Montana Business Quarterly, by Brandon Bridge, “Montana’s Unaffordable Housing Crisis.”


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