Understanding the Current Housing Market: Why Home Prices Are Rising

The housing market has been a hot topic of discussion lately, with many experts and online commentators predicting an imminent crash.

Despite these gloomy predictions, residential home prices have hit a new all-time median price record high in May and have been on an upward trend for 11 consecutive months. How is this possible? Let’s break it down.

The Basics: Supply and Demand

The key to understanding why home prices continue to rise lies in the basic economic principle of supply and demand.

From 2012 to 2022, the formation of new households significantly outpaced the construction of single-family homes, creating a pronounced deficit. This gap has been worsened by high interest rates and demographic shifts, such as millennials entering the market for larger homes suitable for family living.

Historically, the average number of homes listed for sale in the United States over the past 40 years has ranged between 2 to 2.4 million. Currently, we have about 1.2 million homes for sale—just half of the historical norm.

Debunking the Myths

Contrary to the grim forecasts of a market crash, the persistent rise in home prices is largely due to the significant imbalance between the dwindling supply and robust demand.

Economic downturns, like the Great Recession, have long-term impacts on home construction, and recovery to pre-crisis levels of building activity has been slow. This enduring shortage fuels competition among buyers, thereby inflating prices further.

Historical Context

Looking at the historical context, we see that the current number of homes for sale is drastically lower than the average over the past 40 years. This reduced supply in the face of steady demand continues to push prices upward, even as demand shows signs of cooling.

These supply constraints are not just a recent phenomenon but part of a longer historical trend influenced by economic cycles and policy decisions.

The Future of Home Prices

Given the current supply constraints, it is expected that home prices will continue rising in the foreseeable future. While it’s essential to remain cautious and informed, ignoring the noise and focusing on the fundamental economic principles can provide a clearer picture of the housing market’s direction.

The situation is compounded by high mortgage rates, which discourage existing homeowners from selling, further straining the available housing inventory. However, as economic conditions evolve and construction rates potentially increase, there may be a gradual stabilization of prices.


In summary, the rise in home prices is not a mystery but a straightforward result of supply and demand dynamics. Despite what the doom-and-gloom predictors say, the reality is that until the supply of homes increases significantly, prices are likely to remain high. As always, it’s crucial to stay informed and make decisions based on data and fundamental principles.

For those looking to navigate the market, whether buying or selling, an understanding of these foundational economic principles is crucial. Remember, the key to success in any market is staying educated and aware of the underlying factors driving changes.