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Chris Gash for Money

It could be an Econ 101 case study: low housing stock collides with record-low mortgage rates and pent-up demand, pushing home prices higher and supply lower still.

Economists across the country have been shouting about the dearth of housing for years, particularly at the affordable or entry-level. The coronavirus pandemic only intensified the problem.

As of July, national housing inventory declined 32.6% year-over-year. The inventory of newly listed properties declined 13.4% nationally. This summer, homes stayed on the market for 18 fewer days than a year earlier. More agents are reporting bidding wars and homes on average are selling for 8.5% more than they did a year ago, according to realtor.com.

“Home prices have held up well, largely due to the combination of very strong demand for housing and a limited supply of homes for sale,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

Recently, a surge in new construction has eased some of the pressure, but most in the industry say builders can’t build fast enough. Here are eight predictions from housing industry experts on what the rest of the year will spell for the nation’s housing supply. (The text has been lightly edited.)

Susan Wachter

Who she is: Sussman Professor of Real Estate and Finance at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and co-director of Penn Institute for Urban Research.

What she expects: Limited supply of housing has been an issue for years—since the recovery from the Great Recession. In the year of COVID, demand will continue to outstrip supply.

Her reasoning: A recent surge in housing starts, backed up by marked improvement in homebuilder confidence, is likely to lead to an increase in new starts through the end of the year.

Nonetheless, a dearth in starts in the first half of the year and limited inventory is likely to result in 2020 supply that is about the same relative to 2019.