Before most Americans had even heard of the new coronavirus or COVID-19, the nation was suffering from a severe housing shortage. Builders couldn’t put homes up fast enough to satisfy the hordes of eager buyers and renters. But the global pandemic and ensuing financial crisis have put home construction on ice, setting the stage for an even worse housing shortage when the economy recovers.
Construction is not considered an essential business in at least five states, including hard-hit New York and Washington. That means job sites have been forced to close as state orders supersede the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s guidance designating residential construction as an “essential infrastructure business.”
Even in places where builders are allowed to carry on as normal, buyer demand for new homes is waning. That’s likely to lead builders to put up fewer homes, at least until the crisis subsides. When you consider that