Residential single family homes construction by KB Home are shown under construction in the community of Valley Center, California, U.S. June 3, 2021.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Anyone searching for a home today knows full well the pickings are slim. The supply of U.S. homes for sale is near a record low, and the gap between supply and demand is widening.

The U.S. is short 5.24 million homes, an increase of 1.4 million from the 2019 gap of 3.84 million, according to new research from Realtor.com.

The U.S. Census found that 12.3 million American households were formed from January 2012 to June 2021, but just 7 million new single-family homes were built during that time.

Single-family home construction has suffered from a severe labor shortage that began well before the pandemic but was then exacerbated by it. Supply chain disruptions in the past year have pushed prices for building materials higher, and as pandemic-induced demand soared, prices…

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