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suburban neighborhood A residential housing development stands in northwest Atlanta, Georgia. Photographer: CHRIS RANK/Bloomberg News

For a generation of prospective homebuyers in the U.S., there are two chronic problems with the housing market: an overall lack of supply, and low affordability in many markets. As policymakers think about this, they usually focus on how to create more supply by building. While that idea should be pursued to its fullest, the reality is that development takes time, and many areas resist it — so much so that the more likely significant relief for the housing crisis will come as baby boomers’ houses go on the market.

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