Even in the robust pre-pandemic economy, housing experts say there was trouble brewing that presaged the current boom in housing prices, with lower-income and first-time homebuyers in particular facing rising hurdles to homeownership.

“One of the most prominent housing issues in pre-pandemic America was supply shortages,” said Matthew Murphy, executive director of the Furman Center For Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University. “That has carried over and exacerbated, but we already had evidence of supply shortages heading into the pandemic.”

Today’s housing situation has its roots in the last boom-bust cycle, Murphy said: “The context here to this current housing moment is that we were still recovering from the 2008-2009 foreclosure crisis,” when property values plummeted.

Some data suggests the seeds were sown even earlier than the last housing crash: Over the past two decades, the National Association of…

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