BAM Key Details:

  • National Association of Realtors® and released a report that analyzes the supply of homes by income level.
  • The report found the greatest shortage of housing inventory is for middle-income earners, with a shortage of almost 320,000 homes when compared to a balanced market.
  • Metro areas in the South and West have the greatest inventory shortage for middle-income earners, while areas in the Midwest have the most homes available for the same income bracket. 

Just how many homes are missing from today’s market?

National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and’s Housing Affordability and Supply report analyzes this question, breaking down the housing inventory shortage based on price range and income levels.

The report analyzes the number of available listings for different income bracket in the current market, and compares those numbers against a balanced market. For the purpose of this report, a balanced market is when half of all available homes fall within an affordable price range for middle-income buyers. 

housing supply and affordability

Source: NAR

At the end of April 2023, there were approximately 1.1 million homes available for sale—an increase of 5% from one year prior. But even with that increase, there is simply not enough inventory for middle-income earners. 

Largest Housing Inventory Shortage is for Middle-Income Buyers

Nationwide, households earning up to $75,000 can afford to buy just 23% of all listings as of April 2023. For comparison, in April 2018, households in the same income bracket could afford to buy nearly half (49.9%) of all listings on the market. 

According to the report, this equates to a shortage of 319,460 homes for middle-income buyers—the largest inventory shortage of all income brackets. 

Middle-income buyers face the largest shortage of homes among all income groups, making it even harder for them to build wealth through homeownership. A two-fold approach is needed to help with both low affordability and limited housing supply. It’s not just about increasing supply. We must boost the number of homes at the price range that most people can afford to buy.

Nadia Evangelou

Senior Economist and Director of real estate research, NAR

Housing Supply by Metro Area

The report from NAR and also broke down housing supply for the 100 largest metro areas. Of those, they note which areas have the most listings missing—as well as areas with the highest levels of listings—for buyers earning less than $75,000.

Areas with the Smallest Share of Affordable Homes

Of the 100 largest metro areas, those with the most listings missing for households earning less than $75,000 are: 

  1. Los Angeles, CA: 1% share of affordable listings for middle-income earners
  2. Boise City, ID: 2%
  3. Riverside, CA: 4%
  4. Spokane, WA: 8%
  5. Cape Coral, FL: 8%
  6. Fresno, CA: 11%
  7. Deltona, FL: 15%
  8. El Paso, TX: 16% 
  9. Lakeland, FL: 18%
  10. McAllen, TX: 25%

Areas with the Greatest Share of Affordable Homes

Of the same 100 largest metro areas, those where households earning less than $75,000 can afford a greater percentage of homes are as follows:

  1. Youngstown, OH-PA : 72% share of affordable homes for middle-income earners
  2. Akron, OH: 61%
  3. Toledo, OH: 61%
  4. Cleveland, OH: 59%
  5. Syracuse, NY: 54%
  6. Dayton, OH: 53%
  7. Pittsburgh, PA: 52%
  8. Rochester, NY: 51%
  9. St. Louis, MO-IL: 48%
  10. Detroit, MI: 49%

While there are some markets with a share of affordable inventory at or above a balanced market, housing supply remains a challenge for the majority of the United States. It’s a problem that stems from years of underbuilding, making one thing clear: the only way to increase the housing supply for middle-income earners is to build more affordable inventory. 

Even with the current level of listings, the housing affordability and shortage issues wouldn’t be so severe if there were enough homes for all price ranges. Our country needs to add at least two affordable homes for middle-income buyers for every home listed for upper-income buyers.

Nadia Evangelou

Senior Economist and Director of real estate research, NAR