There absolutely WILL BE a housing UNIT shortage in the next 18-24 months if housing starts don't move up from where they are now.
Any one who wants to can go to the US Census website and look at the data for the last 40 years. It's very clear that we built an extra 2mm houses in the first half of this decade, and that if we keep housing starts at 500-600k a year for this year and the next, we will will have under built by more than that in the 2nd half. There just won't be enough housing units. The longer we stay at these low levels, the bigger the rebound. Look out shorts... All home building stocks will double (if not more) in the next 1-2 years.
(Obviously this is predicated on an improvement in unemployment rates, but it is more or less a self fulfilling prophecy more jobs = more construction = more jobs)
A few months ago I said unemployment is no longer a lagging indicator. Just yesterday, Pimco's CEO said exactly that. We are not in the same economic phase we were in for the past 5 decades. Housing no longer is a constant factor based on population growth. It simply does not work like that. There are millions of shadow/ghost inventory homes that have yet to hit the markets plus millions of homes more that *will* hit the markets once people sense *any sign* of a housing bottom- which becomes a perpetuating "self-fulfilling prophecy."