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Published: Apr 25, 2023 5 min read
Illustration of almost empty shelves with very few houses for sale
Ryan Johnson for Money

Prospective homebuyers crossing their fingers and hoping for some good news are facing yet another frustrating reality: There just aren’t enough houses for sale.

Before the pandemic, there was already an estimated shortfall of about 4 million homes. By the end of 2022, that number had increased to 6.5 million, according to research from

High demand and historically low mortgage rates accelerated the inventory decline; buyers throughout the country had to pay a premium to seal the deal on their new homes. These days, interest rates have crept back up, but real estate listings haven't. Both existing and new construction homes are scarce right now, leaving would-be buyers with few options. (Case in point: this year’s abnormally sluggish spring buying season.)

Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist at Bright MLS, says the U.S. housing market is suffering from a supply problem — with long-lasting implications.