Trulia's heat-map of America's incredible shrinking inventory of starter homes.

America is experiencing a housing shortage. Not only are there fewer homes available to buyers of all income levels, those just starting out or making their first foray into home ownership are worse off than they’ve been in years.

Trulia chief economics Ralph McLaughlin notes that not only are there fewer homes available, but even if they can find a home, it’s likely to be more expensive. McLaughlin and the Trulia team take a look at the housing stock nationally and in the 100 largest U.S. metros from January 1, 2012 to March 1, 2016, and here's a few stunning take-aways from their analysis:

  • Nationally, inventory has dropped most for starter and trade-up homes, but less so for premium homes;
  • Regionally, starter home inventory is down most in the West and South. Starter home affordability is down most in California;
  • Rising prices is causing homebuyer gridlock. The growing price spread between premium homes and trade-up homes in some markets is highly correlated with fewer trade-up homes coming onto market.
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