Construction of new housing in the past 20 years fell 5.5 million units short of long-term historical levels, according to a new National Association of Realtors report, which is calling for a “once-in-a-generation” policy response.

The industry lobbying group said it hopes the report, set to be released Wednesday, persuades lawmakers to include housing investments in any infrastructure package.

U.S. builders added 1.225 million new housing units, on average, each year from 2001 to 2020, according to the report, which was prepared for NAR by Rosen Consulting Group LLC. That figure is down from an annual average of 1.5 million new units from 1968 to 2000.

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The 5.5 million-unit deficit includes about two million single-family homes, 1.1 million buildings with two to four units and 2.4…

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