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What was once an issue faced by only coastal cities, the housing shortage has spread rapidly throughout middle America. From 2012 to 2019, the shortage doubled and cities that once had a surplus began to see shortages, according to the latest report by Washington-based policy and research group Up for Growth.

In the year leading into the pandemic, three-quarters of 310 metropolitan areas nationwide were already dealing with dwindling supply or growing deficits. The pandemic only emphasized the issue with rising rents and home prices.

“In booming Boise, Idaho, Up for Growth estimated that the region already had a shortage of more than 13,000 housing units in 2019, using government data on housing and household formation. That’s equivalent to about 5 percent of the region’s housing stock. Athens, Ga., and Pensacola, Fla., had more than enough housing a decade ago, according to the analysis. By 2019 those cushions had vanished.

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