Experts Express Pessimism Over Housing Costs

Although the current housing crisis has been compared with the housing crash of the late 2000s, experts caution that affordability issues could plague the U.S. housing market for years to come.

2 minute read

January 26, 2022, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Suburban Homes

KyleHohler / Shutterstock

With median home prices up by 20 percent in the last year and rents rising across the country, some believe that something has to give, soon. But experts warn that the overheated housing market we're seeing now isn't just a bubble, reports Emily Badger. While rampant price growth similar to today's preceded the 2007 housing crash, at that time, the rise in costs was experienced by less than half of U.S. cities, compared to 80 percent today.

As Badger writes, "There’s probably no quick reprieve coming, no rollback in stratospheric home prices if you can just wait a little longer to jump in." It's "about the fundamentals," says Jenny Schuetz of Brookings: "not enough houses, and huge numbers of people wanting homes." For households on the verge of homeownership before the pandemic, the explosive rise in prices may have pushed them back by years.

As housing experts and advocates have repeatedly pointed out, the imbalance between supply and demand is worsening the housing crisis, but policymakers are not taking aggressive steps to correct the problem. And even if the migration caused by remote work evens out, other factors like institutional investors are likely here to stay. "Today, first-time home buyers in once-affordable markets have competition from all kinds of sources that didn’t exist a generation ago: from global capital, from all-cash 'iBuyers' that size up homes by algorithm, from institutional investors renting single-family homes, from smaller-scale investors running Airbnbs." 

Ultimately, economists interviewed in the article express a pessimistic outlook, with most foreseeing that affordability will continue to be a major concern for American households for several years.

Thursday, January 20, 2022 in The New York Times

Rendering of electric scooters, electric cars, light rail train, and apartments in background.

Arizona’s ‘Car-Free’ Community Takes Shape

Culdesac Tempe has been welcoming residents since last year.

February 14, 2024 - The Cool Down

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

"It's The Climate" sign over street in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Oregon Town Seeks Funding for Ambitious Resilience Plan

Like other rural communities, Grants Pass is eager to access federal funding aimed at sustainability initiatives, but faces challenges when it comes to meeting grant requirements.

February 18, 2024 - The Daily Yonder

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25 - Wired

Front of an Spanish style bungalow with striped window awnings and a tree and yard landscaped with cacti.

‘Culinary Hubs’ Turn Homes Into Micro-Restaurants

Real estate developers around the country are converting old single-family homes into “culinary hubs,” reports The New York Times.

February 25 - The New York Times

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25 - Fox 59

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.