Much of the housing market has gone missing. On suburban streets and in many urban neighborhoods, across large and midsize metro areas, many homes that would have typically come up for sale over the past year never did. Even in cities with a pandemic glut of empty apartments and falling rents, it has become incredibly hard to buy a home.
Today, if you’re looking for one, you’re likely to see only about half as many homes for sale as were available last winter, according to data from Altos Research, a firm that tracks the market nationwide. That’s a record-shattering decline in inventory, following years of steady erosion.
And it’s one flashing sign that the housing market — which can defy basic laws of economics even in normal times — is acting very, very strangely.
This picture is a product of the pandemic but also of the years leading up to it. And if half…