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“Those investors have no incentive to sell,” he says.
When a house goes up for sale, “now you’re competing not only with your neighbor who wants to buy that house, you’re also competing with investors.” Renters made up 36% of households in the third quarter of 2017, up from 31% in 2005, according to the Census Bureau.
When planning and zoning officials limit the number of houses that can be built in a neighborhood, or when they set minimum square footage for houses, they’re limiting the supply of homes and making them more expensive. “There are regulations that are more about the neighbors’ sensibilities than they are about the safety of the people living in the houses,” says Miriam Axel-Lute, associate director of the National Housing Institute, a nonprofit that examines how social issues affect housing.
This is the pressure behind a lot of the most damaging regulations out there.” Clearly, it will take time and concerted effort to fix the problem of not enough houses for sale.
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“That means the inventory of homes for sale, which is already very low, is likely to remain that way if we see higher interest rates,” Nothaft said.
Through the first nine months of 2017, about 473,000 newly constructed houses were sold, according to the Census Bureau.
Homebuilders say regulations — including environmental protection, infrastructure fees and rules that specify minimum lot sizes — add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of every home.