The Atlantic Daily: The Housing Market Is Brutal

Millennials are finally ready to buy homes. Too bad today’s real-estate market is a record-breaking mess.

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Millennials are, as my co-worker Robinson Meyer poetically put it, “passing through the U.S. economy like an elephant being digested by a boa constrictor.” Perhaps nowhere is that stretch more apparent right now than in the housing market.

The generation’s delayed entry into home-buying is helping drive prices to historic highs and inventory to record lows, our staff writer Derek Thompson reports: “Pick a housing statistic at random, and it’s probably setting an all-time record.” To borrow from the pop album du jour, it’s brutal out here.

  • If you’re considering buying, you might want to wait. “It’s so hard to say without knowing the city, but generally, if you’re in a market where you consistently have to spend significantly above listing, I wouldn’t buy right now,” the writer Bill McBride, who predicted the 2007 housing crash, told Derek.

  • A lumber shortage isn’t helping the situation. High demand and shrinking supply (thanks, in part, to climate change) are raising the price of wood, Rob reports. That could delay a badly needed construction boom.

Further reading on our new economic reality: Labor shortages, such as the one America is currently experiencing, aren’t all bad, Annie Lowrey argues. Workers, she writes, should be able to say “no.”


What to read if … you’re processing the season finale of Mare of Easttown:

Read our critic Sophie Gilbert on the buzzy HBO Max show’s real twist. (Spoilers ahead.)

Never heard of the series? Read Sophie on what makes it so watchable.

What to read if … you feel naked without a mask:

The protective wear that has defined the past year is being phased out in parts of the country. But don’t get rid of your stockpile just yet, our staff writer James Hamblin warns.

One question, answered: Should I force my kid to do summer reading?

Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer offer guidance in our latest “Homeroom” column:

After the intensity and challenges of the past year and a half, kids need time to relax and recharge—ideally outdoors, with friends, and far from the glare of a screen. But taking a break shouldn’t mean ignoring academic skills altogether.

Keep reading. Every Tuesday, Abby and Brian take questions from readers about their kids’ education. Have one? Email them at homeroom@theatlantic.com.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Missing the three-day weekend already? Put on an old favorite from our critic David Sims’s list of 25 comfort films.

Try 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven, “an engaging blast even if you know how it’s all going to end.” It’s available on HBO Max and rentable online.

A break from the news:

We sent a writer to try eating cicadas. One exploded in her mouth like a Gusher.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.